CHURUMURI POLL: Why were journos targetted?

Suvarna News editor-in-chief Vishweshwar Bhat (fifth from right, third row from top) addresses journalists from across the state at a rally to protest the attack by advocates, in Bangalore on Monday.

There is something quite unreal and almost unbelievable about the extraordinary violence unleashed by lawyers on mediamen in Bangalore on Friday last.

For starters, there is the timing of it. It came precisely on the day the disgraced BJP minister G. Janardhana Reddy, whose millions mined from the hills of Bellary installed the BJP in power and who has spent the last few months luxuriating in a jail in Hyderbad, was being presented in court. So, was it an attempt to deflect attention?

Then the unprovoked vandalism, which is what it clearly was regardless of the faults of the media, came within days of the so-called “Porngate” scandal, in which TV channels had ripped the veil of sanctimony that BJP’s members love to cloak themselves in for the benefit of the cameras. So, was it an act of revenge?

Then there is the sheer scale of the goondagiri, going on for hours not very far from the seat of government, the Vidhana Soudha, almost suggesting that the BJP government was either not interested in ending the violence or, worse, wanted it to go on long enough so that the media could be taught a lesson for all its accumulated sins. So, were the chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and home minister R. Ashok government complicit?

And then there are all the usual questions about the criminalisation of the judiciary, which becomes quite apparent looking at the still and moving images of lawyers deftly hurling bricks. Doubtless, the judicial commission appointed by the government will get to the bottom of all this, but what do you think provoked the violence? And going by the manner in which both sides are beating their breasts, will there be an amicable settlement soon, or are the battlines drawn?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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