The Sheena Bora murder case, which surfaced three years after the crime was actually committed, has shocked the country and taken the national media by storm. The scandalous reports coming out day after day, are keeping the media and police on their toes, and has garnered a lot of spotlight. But in a country of a billion people, is this just about the only one case, that is putting us in a tizzy?
Let’s see, does anyone know what else has happened along the past week in the country, and how many not so “high profile” people have died? Did anyone come to know the name of a boy, who was picked up by the police in Ahmadabad, and died in police custody, along with ten others in two days of violence? Or were the deaths of civilians in the Indo-Pak border firing, reported as anything more than just number?
What makes them ‘high profile’?
A famous quote by Joseph Stalin reads, “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” But is it just about the numbers or does it have something to do with the kind of people involved?
With first 4 pages dedicated towards the #IndraniMukherjea case – they should rename the paper to The Crimes of India— Atul Khatri (@one_by_two) August 28, 2015
Oh wait, the Sheena Bora case is special, because the people involved are ‘high profile’. The high profile here means them being media barons, known as a part of the “elite” circle in the society. These people are so important as compared to other citizens of the country, that the commissioner of police is personally handling this case.
Civilian deaths in border towns are rising in the Indo-Pak border firing | Source: Al Jazeera
The media too seems to think that this case is somehow extra important to the country, and is following every update in the case, down to claims made by people, who seem to speak more to the media than the authorities.
A media circus
Incestuous rumours are being sensationalised and showcased as some blockbuster movie, with titillating taglines. Though the kind of narrative given to it, makes it look more like a B-grade movie.
Known media personalities and senior journalists, are dedicating time and priceless intellect to panel discussions, and providing “insider accounts” on national television. Even forgotten faces like Rahul Roy got to be a part of the media circus, courtesy Mr. Arnab Goswami, who got a new subject to adopt for the coming week.
Not the only tragedy
Although the media widely gave attention to the violence in Gujarat, Indrani Mukherjea clearly proved to attract more viewership by the evening, as compared to Hardik Patel. Shwetang Patel, who was killed while in custody in Ahmedabad, and whose mother is fighting for justice, did not find anything more than a token mention in few sections of the media.
More importantly, what we the people of the country need to learn here, is that we are not really as equal as we think in the eyes of the law. There are high profile people, which include those with fame, financial power or political power.
The Gujarat High Court ordered a probe into Shwetang Patel’s custodial death | Source: Divya Bhaskar
The rest of the people, are just the ordinary citizens of India, like those four people who died in the exchange of fire on the Indo-Pak border, and still counting. On top of all that, army veterans, men who ensured safety for the people of this country, are still protesting at Jantar Mantar to demand OROP, without much popular support.
The city here is one where 20 million other people also exist, and hundreds of other murder cases remain unsolved. But well, the 20 million in the city are not all “high profile”, and the same goes for the hundreds of unsolved cases.
Time to prioritise
Yes, there is the argument about privileged people getting it easy from the law, but the point is to ensure that everyone gets equal treatment. It does not mean specifically going after cases in which “high profile” people are accused, it means handling all other cases with equal care and attention.
Whether #IndraniMukherjea had a sandwich in jail or what else is breaking news on some TV channels. Is this the kind of media we deserve?— Devinder Sharma (@Devinder_Sharma) August 28, 2015
Rakesh Maria is a respected police officer, and his handling of the 1993 Bombay Blast case is praise worthy. This case is not a terror attack that killed hundreds and affected thousands of lives.
We the people
However, as much as the blame lies with the media for the scandalous ‘reportage’ of the murky murder mystery, it also lies with the people, us, who sit up and pay attention to the gory and the bizarre fervently. Sure, there was a murder, and the case is getting stranger everyday, but it doesn’t rank higher than other important events around us. We just need to see through the noise, rather than play along to extended shock-value.