CHANDIGARH: Historic victory of Sikh nationalist leader and president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann has exposed the real face of mainstream Indian media organizations including The Tribune.
Even as Mann was being considered as closest contestant of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Gurmel Singh Gharachon from day one and the fight was two-cornered between both the candidates, the prime English newspapers which claim to be defender of democratic ethos and giving space to the people’s concerns and emotions, did not recognize what was written on the wall.
In a story published by The Tribune on June 23, which is the largest Indian nationalist newspaper of the northern region of the country, the readers found no mention about Mann who had been Member of Parliament twice earlier. Nor did it publish picture of Mann, while that of all other main contenders including Congress’ Dalvir Singh Goldy, BJP’s Kewal Singh Dhillon and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)’s Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, were there in the story published to report their final day campaign.
In reaction to this discriminatory act and violation of basic media ethics, Mann’s party, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), had stated, “The Tribune has turned blatantly communal and become a model of Hindutva, adapting the rightwing policies of the RSS, a dangerously radicalized wing and father of the ruling BJP party with Premier Narinder Modi as its Premier”.
“We can see that it has posted the pictures of all the candidates running for Parliament in the By-Election to the Sangrur Parliamentary Constituency”, said party spokesperson Lakhvir Singh in a statement.
He said, “It has prominently omitted the picture of Simranjit Singh Mann the candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), which today’s 24th June vernacular newspapers state that his campaign was most popular inviting crowds to the polling-booths of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)”.
“It is proved that The Tribune has taken on firmly to the ideology of Hindutva and the creation of a Hindu Rashtra which is a policy of the BJP-RSS”, he said, adding, “Our party has written to all democratic states that the news published in The Tribune and its editorial’s should be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly in the Congressional library in Washington DC, British, Canadian, New-Zealand, Australian, German, French, Japanese and other Parliaments of the UN Associated countries and the Indian minorities living abroad and the Hindu Indian state”.
On the other hand, another Indian national newspaper Hindustan Times did also not publish Simranjit Singh Mann’s picture the same day in its wrap up about last moment push of all the candidates. Despite Mann was outdoing all other candidates in term of garnering support of the voters and it was quite visible to all, this newspaper put Mann on last place in just two paras of in the seven-column story.
After being declared winner by the Election Commission of India on Sunday, Mann expressed his fury over the biased and undemocratic approach of these so called reputed media organizations including The Times of India and The Indian Express, while interacting with media in Sangrur. He categorically recalled that the then Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune had recommended the then Prime Minister Indra Gandhi for the military operation in 1984.