Which is what last week's Tehelka/Aaj Tak/Headlines Today 'sting' dredged up. An almighty stink but not much more.
So we were witness once again to grainy videos and casual blood-curdling statements made by the perpetrators in Gujarat 2002, who were quite clearly operating freely and at will with the blessings of the State Government, a disturbingly large majority of the police and even members of India's esteemed, independent and proud legal system.
Now, honestly, nothing that has come up in these videos is new or shocking. I mean, we all know exactly what happened back in 2002. The facts were just never caught on tape nor was there any real evidence damning the offenders.
The media at that point completely failed to report the truth of what was happening in Gujarat. [I was very much in India at the time, I had full access to TV but I'll be damned if ANY channel, any ONE channel pointed out the 'genocide/mass murder/ethnic cleansing' etc that is now being made a very big deal of.] Are we expected to believe that no one in the media covering the ugliness at that time saw fit to bring to light the atrocities that were obviously and openly being committed? Whatever. 'If it's not going to go down well with the overwhelming majority, we can't show it.' I have seen half-baked, sensationalised, one-sided presentation of stories by the glorious media too often to start frothing at the mouth over this issue again.
Anywhoo. Pat on the back to Tejpal and Ashish Khetan for at least ruffling some dirty feathers.
Now, here's the thing.
What I find most disturbing about the sting in today's context is the deplorable behaviour of politicians in response to it.
Far more infuriating and unbelievable than Babu Bajrangi's proud recollection of the murders he committed, or Suresh Richard's comments on police killings or all the other sordid facts that came out of this expose [and boy, are there many] was the immediate onslaught of miffed BJP leaders and spokespersons on various news channels, distraught at the underhanded techniques being used by the slimy Congress party and the UPA alliance. Tsk tsk. Bechaara BJP. Being made a tool in the hands of the opposition, that too just before the elections! Can't everyone see that the issue is not the gross human violations that had take place in 2002? Obviously the only relevant point is that the BJP is but a poor sacrificial lamb placed in front of the power-hungry, opportunistic Congress? That, forget what happened, the point is that NOW this is seriously going to affect the outcome of the elections. (Possibly, but not probably. I myself don't think it's going to do any good.)
One after the other viewers were privy to disgruntled, peeved BJPians who evaded any real response to the questions that this expose threw up and were only concerned with pointing fingers at the timing of this revelation, the fact that Tehelka was the Congress party's PI agency and that excuse me, but why did Aaj Tak and Headlines Today give a disclaimer at the beginning of their broadcast? This last query was screeched in a exceedingly accusatory and victorious tone by some BJP spokesperson, leaving the melodramatic presenters of the show stumped for a few moments. They soon regained their composure when they realised this was possibly the worst comeback of all time on live television, that it was all fart and no shit from said BJPee-Pee [BJP-Personality], and went on to explain to him what the disclaimer actually said. There was a lot of caterwauling and stuffed-shirt huffiness on the part of truly despicable representatives of the party, and more than anything else, this non-apologetic attitude and blatant dismissal of the seriousness of the issue is what sickened me.
Obviously the opposition [primarily the Congress party] themselves didn't hold back from jumping in and slinging some mud, aimed specifically in BJP's direction. But again, it came across as political posturing and insipid and too bloody little and too late.
I HATE POLITICIANS. They truly are a smorgasboard of all things despicable and every time we think things can't possible get any more filthier than they are already, we see a new low in sordidness.
Some choice excerpts from various people the night this news broke (sic). Also 'sick', now that I think about it.
An irate BJP leader, when asked on live TV for a response to one of the open admissions [bragging] of mass Muslim murders committed during the riots, screamed: "So? What about the Hindus that were murdered?" Err. Yes, good point. Since you put it that way, it all seems okay.
BJPeePee v Congressor argument in studio:
BJPeePee: Why is the Congress bringing this up now, blah blah blah, just before the elections, blah blah blah?
Congressor: This was a Holocaust committed by the ruling BJP! *vent*fume*looks shocked*
News channel host: Erm, the Holocaust is a very specific term used to refer to the deliberate extermination of millions of Jews by Hitler during WWII.
Congressor: *looks nonplussed* I mean, ethnic cleansing. [Ooh, good one!] Yes, the Muslims in Gujarat were systematically targeted for killing etc etc, blah blah...
News Channel Chump: These are strong terms you are using! [*looks suitably and dramatically impressed*]. But what about the atrocities against the Sikhs in '84? Wouldn't that be ethnic cleansing under the then ruling Congress party? [What??!!! Viewers are reeling at the non-sequitir and unnecessary needling by said channel chump, but still....]
BJPeePee: *looking vindicated and relieved at the same time* Oh, yes! Oh, ha ha! Oh, yes, what about that, hmmm?
Congressor: *lamely* I have nothing to say on that matter. *Mutter*mumble*
BJPeePee: *not wanting to lose the upper hand* (screaming suddenly) And what about the Hindus that died, hmmm!!!!? What about the Godhra massacre?!!!
News Chump: Yes, but is the BJP not going to come out and respond to these terrible charges, these clear facts that have just come to light.....
BJPeePee: Aha! And why is it only now coming to light? These cunning UPA politicians......
And so on and so forth ad nauseum.
PS: A week later and this Sensational Breaking News is no longer featuring in the top stories section. Aishwarya's first Karva Chauth at the Bachchan's rooftop got live coverage though.
PPS: Still no apologies, condemnations, acceptance of wrongdoing, official action or resignation from the BJP or the state government in Gujarat.
PPPS: And frankly, no hope of anything happening in the near future either.
This is India, folks. We get used to living with stinks all the time.
Full story from tehelka's website.
Also, interesting [and disturbing] related read, "Compassion Doesn't Scale", from the India Uncut Blog.