ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Manipulating Public Opinion

Ironically, after the special investigation team (SIT) submitted its report on the involvement of the chief minister in the 2002 Gujarat violence, a large number of newspapers and news channels reported that a clean chit had been given to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, a report in Tehelka (12 February 2011) clearly shows that the newspaper headlines were nothing but a concoction. As per the report (now with the Supreme Court), Modi “showed a measure of thoughtlessness and irresponsibility on the part of a person holding high office”. The report practically confirms all the findings of the people’s tribunal and other citizens’ committees which painstakingly investigated the Gujarat violence and called it a pogrom. In this battle for justice, the communalists seem to have the power to manipulate the appropriate levers to their advantage. The whole episode should make us introspect as to how to ensure that the “truth shall prevail”. It is a matter of grave concern that with the close nexus of communal politics with the media, public opinion can be manipulated at will, in this case, by publishing that the “SIT has given a clean chit to Modi”. If we cannot face this stark fact, such popular perceptions will lay the ground for the guilty to go unpunished.

Mohd Ziyaullah Khan

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