- Please note that this article had been written when the media attention hadn’t started and many details were unclear. Please refer to Developments in the case for accurate updated information.
- Dear Indian media,By that, I mean journalists, editors, news anchors….. any and all of you supposedly committed to dispersing news of importance to the country. We need you to do your job. It is important. It is important to you as a person too, though it may not be visible to you right now.The story of the deaths of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandeshas found very brief mention in the media. Not as much as one would expect with an out and out stabbing of two people on the streets over eve teasing. It was inexplicable until word came around that the MP from the area himself is arranging for a lawyer for the killers.With elections coming up, all political parties are making nice with Valmiki Nagar – the area that the goons came from, and part of the making nice seems to be reassuring families of the killers that they will get “justice”.In a country where even the anti-corruption movement doesn’t have unanimous support, apparently these people who can attack a group of people with swords and knives indeed have all party support. How is justice expected to happen in this situation?
- Harini Calamur lays out the problem bluntly.
- Friends of Keenan and Reuben are coping with grief, supporting devastated families how they can, following up on legal aspects of the case and are encountering increasing political support for the killers. Why is it that a case of butchering citizens on the streets is a political matter at all, why is it that if a politician must do something, instead of working to secure the city, the intent is to protect killers?Why is Ashok Bhau Jadhav Congress MLA from Andheri W sponsoring the killers lawyers? Why are the police not arresting the extra 13 odd goons who swiftly came to back Rana’s attack armed with swords and knives? How is it that a group of people so boldly arriving armed as a gang in three rickshaws is totally untracable? What efforts are on to find them at all?
And no simple killer this. Rana already has two murder cases pending against him and yet was out on the streets free to kill more. On arrest he was confident that he would be out in a few months. There is no remorse of any kind.
Why are people supposed to take care of the well being of citizens preventing threats against them from coming to any harm? In other words, supporting people who killed openly on the street?
- As the media in this country, do you not feel any responsibility? You are supposed to be a pillar of democracy. You have been speaking yourself hoarse over corruption. Then why this all pervading silence over politicians protecting murderers over vote banks?Even the “allergic to migrants” Raj Thackeray is silent and MNS activists are among those “meeting” residents of Valmiki Nagar along with other parties. What is this sudden political emergency emerging in this area? Why is it that there is no story visible here to you?We need you to find your integrity as a pillar of democracy. To find the honor in your jobs. To trump priorities with patriotism. To ask these burning questions and prevent the impunity with which this shocking dismissal of ethics is happening among those who should look after the well being of the people.Because you are not journalists only. You are also people who could be stabbed on the street for protecting someone you love. Keenan Santos could be you.We need your help. We don’t want to become the people we see us becoming with this story. We want you to amplify our voice and help us insist on justice and question protections killers get from politicians.Sincerely,A Mumbaikar, an Indian.Update: since this letter was written, things have changed. Media has indeed picked up the story, several newspapers covering it in detail, channels covering, taking up campaigns, speaking to politicians on behalf of victims… Thought I should acknowledge that here.Update2: Media attention came and went. Nothing concrete has happened. Attention has moved on. The lawyer promised by the CM – Ujwal Nikam – hasn’t been approached. The killer’s face being shown in the media has actually weakened the case. Four accused are saying they didn’t do it. Seventeen accused have families protesting their arrest. The rumors about political support for killers still very much alive. Your efforts will be no use if this ends like this. Read about the developments (long, source referenced research post. don’t read on mobile. Give it a minute to open). We need you to stay with this. To see it through. If not everyday, but running reports often enough that it can’t be parked under the carpet.