Monday, July 28, 2008
Patna lensman's murder mystery or capital murder?
THE TERROR WITHIN
By Manuwant Choudhary
When W joins X News Channel and dies mysteriously, journalists don't even ask Y?
News of W's death doesn't even make it to the scrolls of TV news channels.
Is this the Z of journalism in India??
This is not a lecture in a journalism school but real life in India.
Dablu, whose real name is Rajesh Singh, started out on his television career and joined NDTV as a tea boy some years ago when I was still with NDTV.
He then got a promotion and joined CNN-IBN as assistant cameraperson and then he was transferred to Nagpur in Maharashtra as a cameraman.
Just a few months ago I met a smiling Dablu after he secured a cameraman's job with the recently launched national English TV channel News X.
I asked him why he's back and he told me he wanted a job nearer home.
In fact, Dablu was always a happy smiling face. So on July 21 when I was told that Dablu committed suicide I could not believe it.
Why would Dablu, a cameraman with a decent salary in a national TV channel, commit suicide? And those who knew Dablu would confirm that he was never the sentimental sort.
His body was found on a railway track in Patna.
News of his death made me sad.
So it was natural for me to inquire why did Dablu do what he did? I asked some colleagues what did the FIR report say and I was told Dablu's father, a wireless operator in the Bihar poilce, and the News X reporter Shiv Pujan Jha had both said in the FIR that it was a case of suicide.
This was said even before the body was sent for a post-mortem.
It was late evening and we got a call that the post-mortem is over and Dablu would be cremated at Baans Ghat. I went along with a few NDTV staffers.
But to my shock, I did not find a single other cameraman or journalist at the funeral. No, not even the News X reporter Shiv Pujan Jha.
And no they were not busy with other stories since the trust debate in parliament meant a holiday for journalists in Bihar.
And yes, I saw Dablu's face.
A deep slash with a sharp weapon right in the middle of his face, probably with a meat chopper. His face on either side was perfectly normal. There were no bruises either on his face on either side, which he could have had had he jumped off a flyover.
And no suicide notes.
So I decided to pursue this story. From Dablu's friends I got to know that Dablu had got married to a girl just a month ago in Varanasi. Although the girl was also from his own Rajput caste, she came from a richer family. Dablu had fallen in love with this girl who studied at Patna's Women's College.
So why did Dablu choose to get married in a temple? Surely, he should have had the courage to meet the girl's father and ask for his daughter's hand.
You are right. That would happen in any normal civilised society.
But from the past cases in Bihar falling in love even within your caste is a crime greater than murder, kidnapping and dacoity. Its about `izzat'...`honour'.
So Dablu and the girl chose a temple wedding. In fact, a colleague of Dablu even spoke to his wife and asked her when she would be giving the reception and she replied that she would do so when she is in Patna.
The girl lives in Gopalganj.
But Dablu's death has changed all that. Now the girl says she never married Dablu.
So I inquired further.
On July 21 after finishing work Dablu took his news tape to book it on a flight to New Delhi at around 6 p.m. He returned home, dropped his camera and asked his taxi driver to drop him near Madhuban Bar, a place which he frequented regularly.
In between he was getting telephone calls.
The driver says he did drop Dablu at the Hartali More near Madhuban.
At 9 p.m. News X reporter Shiv Pujan Jha gets a telephone call from Gopalganj from the sister-in-law of the girl saying that Dablu called them and he was proceeding towards the railway tracks saying he was going to commit suicide.
Dablu's drinking partner is a Sanjeev, also a son of a wirelss operator, and Dablu's neighbour too, also an assistant at Asia News International.
Sanjeev denies he met Dablu that night as they were not on talking terms for the past four days.
No other friend of Dablu has come forward to claim he met Dablu at Madhuban Bar.
Another son of a wireless operator, also an assistant, searched for Dablu all night after he did not return home. Only in the morning did he get a police information that a body has been found near a railway track. When they reach there they identify the body to be that of Dablu.
So what happened to Dablu?
The post-mortem was completed on July 21 itself but the police have still not made that public.
Police say they are investigating the case.
The father of Dablu does not say anything.
And the girls father is a big railway contractor Magistrate Singh in Gopalganj. There is no word from him either.
Magistrate Singh's son is Rakesh Singh and he lives in Patna.
When TV journalists are busy counting cross-over MPs in parliament and now the bodies in Bangalore, Gujarat, does anyone have time for a Dablu?
Who is Dablu? Nobody knows him?
Will he get us TRP? He is just a tea-boy who became a cameraman and fell in love.
Forget Dablu, lets concentrate on the crime program Sansanee.....(Sensation) and the positive stories of chief minister Nitish Kumar's Junta Durbar or blame Pakistan.