A cricketer, a reporter, and a cop

IN Opinion | 29/07/2002
A cricketer, a reporter, and a cop

A cricketer, a reporter, and a cop


Letters to Hoot: the Times of India¿s dubious scoop


Only Celebrities Matter?


In the second week of July, the Bangalore edition of The Times of India reported that the former Test cricketer Javagal Srinath was harassed by an inspector of a local police station in Mysore. The essence of the newspaper report was something like this: Javagal Srinath, an international cricketer went to the police station to lodge a complaint. The police inspector, while not recognising him, made him stand for about 15 minutes and spoke to him rudely and apparently said that all are equal in the eyes of law. Worse, he did not even give Javagal Srinath a chance to prove his identity. The inspector was prone to such behaviour and there were complaints against him in the past too. The 3-column boxed report appeared on the front page.


Soon the other newspapers picked it up. The others gave the item two to four columns, some boxed, some bottom spreads with a mug shot of Srinath repeating what had been reported by TOI. To be fair to them, they also added the government¿s stand on the issue. Naturally, the local politician seized the opportunity and raised the matter in the Assembly. The Home Minister told the Assembly that he had received reports on the incident and that he would act on its basis. "The government does not want such incidents to occur in any police station. A circular would be issued to this effect," the Home Minister declared.


The next day¿s newspapers quoted Javagal Srinath as saying that the entire incident had been blown out of proportion and that such reports had embarrassed him no end. The reporter did not even contact him and indulged himself in desktop reporting, he said. Srinath wanted the matter to end and so did the police commissioner. Action would be taken only after recording Srinath¿s statement, he said. Surprisingly, the Mysore correspondent of TOI himself stopped writing about it the day after Srinath¿s statement appeared in another newspaper.


While this report brought out the insults people face while dealing with police officers, it also raised serious ethical issues. One, the reporter did not even contact Srinath and based his report on heresy to get a front-page boxed story. It did create a flutter but Srinath sought to undo the damage done to the poor inspector. Two, it seemed to presume that celebrities should get special treatment in police stations. The inspector¿s crime, in the words of the TOI reporter was that he did not even recognise the international cricketer and offer him a seat. What about the common person who undergoes such humiliation in various police stations? Guess it requires a celebrity to bring such issues into focus.


"The government is not taking action against the police officer just because a noted personality is involved. It is the job of the police to behave well," the Home Minister said. Perhaps, the correspondent has a lesson or two to learn from such politicians.


Vasuki Belavadi, Manipal


July 11, 2002


No Kidding


This has reference to the article "NO KIDDING". In the name of Sex Education, all rubbish is being published in glossy journals. Anyone questioning the propriety of publishing such information would be dubbed as a conservative stooped in obscurantism.


At the moment, the question to be addressed is whether Sex education is at all necessary. Eating, Sleeping and Procreation are just instincts which even animals are bestowed with. A

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