It took Sreenivasan Jain a grand total of five paragraphs and nearly 300 words to agree that he made a mistake while arriving at a conclusion, in the “heat of a debate”. He took 300 words to explain why he made a remark that was false and misleading. Reading that explanation provides deep insight into the thinking of his ilk — anything vis-a-vis Narendra Modi.
What was the remark? The High Court has already ‘established that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was a fake one’. The video where he said it is not available on the NDTV website right now, but we needn’t worry because Sreenivasan Jain has confessed to uttering such a statement, which is factually wrong.
The confession was not straightforward though — it came with a lot of caveats. First SJ lampoons about him not able to find that bit in the video!
“I separately heard the discussion at the counter number he provides (5:30) but couldn’t find it there.”
Now there are two discussions that we are talking about here. One on the afternoon of July 27. That report is what Kartikeya was referring to. The report that has been trimmed down to about 3 minutes now thereby depriving us a chance of quoting SJ here. There is another on the evening of 27th June – the one to which we will come back later.
If Sreenivasan Jain does in fact remember “saying something on similar lines”, why does he bother to harangue us with insinuations that Kartikeya was putting out a link that had no basis at all? If NDTV decides to prune a video, how is it the writer’s fault, especially when SJ himself agrees to have made such a point? Alert folks on social media dug up the video which clearly shows Jain telling Vyas this, “…the encounter, as you know, the High Court as declared as fake.”
Now read Jain’s opening argument once again:
Imagine my surprise when I read the piece to find that the only outright discrepancy to which he refers is not part of our report at all!
Jain further alludes that he “perhaps” might have said something similar in the “heat of a discussion”. This was not a heated debate at all. This was the first question he put forth and said this as if it’s a matter of fact! This was a straightforward lie that was exposed. However, after magnanimously establishing that he has infact uttered such a statement, he still does not bother to apologise and move on. More bizarreness follows.
He tells us that the basis of such an understanding was the fact that the High Court accepted the submission of the SIT report; and that they accepted it despite the AG’s objections and therefore it is a matter of interpretation whether this amounts to mere legal procedure and not an indictment! A mere acceptance of submission is being interpreted as an indictment and it is being suggested that one should not question the same?
Thankfully and finally, he agrees to stand corrected on that “limited point”. Phew! He made a factual error — he could have just said, ‘Yes it was wrong. I interpreted the acceptance of submission as severe indictment’ and moved on — but we had to be subjected to a long explanation of the whole fiasco.
The tirade doesn’t end. It now brings us to the second most crucial argument.
It begins thus:
On the actual report itself, the Tanna piece mentions no other ‘lies’.
I have read, re-read and searched for the word ‘lie’ or ‘lies’, in Kartikeya Tanna’s article. I did not find anything. So what exactly was the purpose of putting lies in quotes (before someone pounces on me to know the difference between single and double quotes, here’s NDTV using both types for the same purpose, earlier). Then he tells us this:
Instead, it offers a sermon on how we should have interpreted the information the CBI has gathered. This is subjective commentary and doesn’t merit a response other than to say we placed the facts before the viewer, raised in our view the obvious questions, and allowed a debate on its merits. End of story.
You’d actually think this is the “end of story” but sadly it is not! His harangue continues. But don’t worry. We will not debate the full thing.
There are two key points to note here: The first is the arrogant tone of the response. Phrases like “doesn’t merit a response” and “end of story” blatantly imply that Jain is above scrutiny and questioning — anyone doing otherwise be damned. Sreenivasan Jain is doing us no favours by clarifying on queries raised, the sooner they realise that, the quicker the quality of discourse will improve.
Secondly, he says this, “We placed the facts before the viewer, raised in our view the obvious questions, and allowed a debate on its merits. ”
But some of these “facts” were not facts in the first place. Now let’s get to the video available on the NDTV website (a 45-minute-long discussion on the night of June 27). From 4:48 to 5:28, Jain starts the debate by posing a long question to Gujarat Government’s representative on the panel, Jai Narayan Vyas. I will transcribe some key words for ease of reference:
“Is it time now Mr Vyas, to stop hiding behind this argument…”
“…when clearly this is evidence being gathered by court-monitored investigations.”
“Is this now a matter of serious concern for the BJP? Or shouldn’t it be?”
If one of us were to merely replace some words in the above questions and pose it to NDTV, imagine the outpour of victimhood by this ilk! For example, based on umpteen instances (well-documented on the net), if I were to pose:
“Is it time now dear NDTV to stop hiding behind this argument…”
“…when clearly this is evidence being gathered by open goof-ups of NDTV.”
“Is this now a matter of serious concern for NDTV? Or shouldn’t it be?”
There is not an iota of doubt that I (or you) will be branded as a troll who has no job and is merely an attention-seeker. I might also be the arrogant guy who loves to abuse and has had a very bad upbringing. This halo they have created around themselves that only they are eligible to pose “tough” questions and everyone else has to merely acknowledge their awesome work is, to say the least, amusing!
In this particular instance, NDTV and Tehelka go about insinuating the claim that Narendra Modi knew about the encounter. Is it safe to assume that when Jain said “evidence”, he was also implying that Modi also is in trouble? “Evidence” that was based on double hearsay, as Kartikeya Tanna has clearly exposed.
By “raising obvious questions” in “their view“, what NDTV has done is to successfully plant a doubt that Narendra Modi knew about the encounter (I won’t bother using words like ‘alleged’, ‘fake’ etc. That’s for the court to decide). And they claim to have to done that because they have subjectively interpreted so. Discussing your view is so different from discussing plain facts — a difference NDTV might not appreciate much.
The arrogant tone of the reply, evident in the choice of many words/phrases, implying our interpretation cannot and should not be subject to questioning sums up pretty much everything that is wrong with this ilk. The insinuation at the end that Niti Central is responsible for the interpretation and abusive language of it’s followers is laughable to say the least. But it still beats us as to how a publication can have control over the nature of responses it’s readers generate! This suggestion coming from the channel that gives airtime to the likes of Sanjay Jha and Amaresh Mishra makes it even more amusing.
However, it is heartening to note that social media continues to ruffle many feathers — and this is just the beginning!