People gathered in the Azad Maidan on Saturday, August 11, 2012 to protest the killing of Muslims in Burma and Assam. The protest was called by the Raza Academy, an institution for the promotion of Sufi culture, and several other Muslim groups.
Around mid-day, 'someone' made an inflammatory speech, accusing the media of not covering the killings properly. The protestors immediately turned upon the scores of media persons who were, ironically, covering this protest and then went on a rampage.
They torched OB vans of the media, destroyed Government buses, torched some vans of the police and generally caused mayhem around Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. They injured over 50 people, mostly journalists, photographers and the police. Two persons were killed.
The general opinion floating around right now is - No one is 'responsible'. Everyone has some excuse. Everyone is 'shocked' and everyone is 'sorry'. It was just one of those things that happen.
No. These things do not 'just happen', no matter how 'sorry' people are that it did.
So who is responsible?
They were the flimsy excuse people used to do all of this mayhem. It all started because 'someone' said the 'media' was not covering the killings. Did the speechmaker bother to clarify who the 'media' is?
I am also part of the 'media'. I have never been to Assam or Burma.
If I walk down the street tomorrow, will gangs of 'protestors' attack and possibly kill me because 'someone' told them that the 'media' thousands of kilometers away was not doing its job? The sad truth is, yes that is possible.
The journalists of Mumbai covered the 'protest', both before and after the carnage. What did they get for doing their job?
Image: A man waves a flag as a man walks near a vehicle on flames after a clash between police and Muslim protestors in Mumbai, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012.
Text: Vinayak Hegde