A few commentators including Pratap Bhanu Mehta have tried to expose the activists working among the Gujarat carnage victims for “fabricating evidence”. But the rebuttal by the activists, especially by Teesta Setalwad, was completely ignored by the media. We are presenting both, in order to let our readers judge for themselves, the truth behind this expose. Interestingly both PBM’s comment, and Teesta’s rebuttal appeared on the same day, April 15th, and it is not clear whether PBM’s piece was influenced by what Teesta describes as distorted reporting. We will be happy to publish (as a guest post)any rejoinder from PBM, who is one of our valued readers.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta replies:
1. My intention was not to expose Teesta. I have no competence and desire to do so. I was just stuck by the fact that this seemed to be an important story, carried by a “credible” newspaper, the Economic Times, followed by TOI and a slightly different version by IBN.
2. I tried to verify whether TOI indeed had the SIT in question and was led to believe they did. I know we are sceptical of news reports, but I assumed that ET would have at least some minimal standards of accuracy in reporting.
3.That seemed to me sufficient to warrant a blog comment. Now if it turns out that the ET and TOI “lied” I will be relieved and distraught in different ways. I will be relieved that charges against Teesta are untrue. I will be distraught because it will raise serious questions about whom one can trust in matters of reportage. It will confirm, in a different way, the deep crisis of credibility and adjudication facing Indian society. After all, it was the same reporters and newspapers and editors one relied on for reporting on the horrendous carnage in Gujarat. And once the credibility of all these institutions of reporting declines, everyone will feel entitled to believe what they want.
4. I also regret that many responses seem to bring out the latent crisis in Indian democracy. So many people jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that if some of what is alleged to be said against Teesta is true, it automatically exonerates the Gujarat government. This is far from being the case.