Times of India deleted a report that said that 11 members of the Bajrang Dal were arrested in connection to the hangings in West Bengal
Image Courtesy: Janta Ka Reporter
Odds keep getting stacked against the Indian media as it consciously censors its own reports and findings. Recently, stories broke of two men being allegedly murdered and hanged in West Bengal and according to this report, Times of India deleted its story on 11 Bajrang Dal members being arrested in connection to these deaths.
According to the NDTV report, A young BJP worker Trilochan Mahato was found dead and hanging from a tree in Purulia district with messages written across his white shirt. They read, “This is for doing BJP politics from age 18. Been trying to kill you since the vote. Failed. Today you are dead.” The report stated that BJP President Amit Shah blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress for Mahto’s death. His tweet read, “A young life full of possibilities was brutally taken out under state’s patronage. He was hanged on a tree just because his ideology differed from that of state-sponsored goons.”
Another man from Purulia named Dulal Kumar was also found hanging, three days after Mahato was found dead and was declared a suicide by authorities. These deaths took place at a time when the state had elections which were marred by the controversy of rigging, intimidation violence and murder. TOI reported that 11 Bajrang Dal activists were arrested in connection with these incidents but were taken off their channels and the links keep showing ‘404 page not found’ message.
Many are speculating about the reasons why TOI removed its links. They say it could be fake news or it could be pressurized to stay mum and not circulate news that damages Bajrang Dal’s image.
Indian was ranked 138 on the world press freedom rankings list by reporters without borders and is consistently slipping in this regard. If the Cobrapost stings are anything to go by, it’s very simple to influence the fourth pillar of democracy. As this report suggests, TOI, DNA and many others erased their stories on the assets of Amit Shah witnessing a meteoric rise and Smriti Irani’s dubious degrees. TOI’s sister publications Navbharat Times (NBT) and Economic Times (ET) had also carried the report of Shah’s assets increasing by 300% before being taken down from there too. When confronted about this erasure by other media outlets, the media behemoths had no answers.