Saturday, 26 May 2018

Media often calls others "moral police" while acting itself as the most hypocritical "moral police" all the time!

If I take this Lallantop video at face value, then it seems that browbeating, verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence that the young man and woman were subjected to were not only wrong but also criminal.

So Lallantop is right in pointing out that what the young man and woman experienced was tyranny of a crowd of people.

But Lallantop gets carried away (as is clear in the video starting from 6:00) by its own self-righteous tone in beginning to maralize and criticize the Uttarakhand police.

Given Lallantop's own narration of what police officer Rathod told their reporter, I find nothing wrong in police's conduct in involving the young woman's parents.

The 'morality' that Lallantop is preaching here is not only stupid and unrealistic, but also hypocritical.

A law is supposed to be -- at least on paper -- codified morality, and a law enforcement agency has perforce to go by a kind of conventional moral code that the legal system represents, more or less.

That's one of the reasons we see police behaving mostly in ways that some unrealistic self-styled "progressives" would perceive as conventional and behind the times.

Informing young woman's parents has little to do with her being a woman, or being a Hindu, or being an adult.

It's simply a common sense thing to do and a right thing to do from the point of view of the police.

A person finds herself in trouble and the police informs her nearest relatives about it.

I am a journalist myself (who has also worked for India Today Group to which Lallantop belongs) and I don't think there are even a few journalists around who too would not like their closest (such as parents) to be informed of any trouble they might get into.

(A number of journalists, however, pose as someone they are not and pretend to favour ideas and principles that their actual lives have nothing to do with. The person anchoring this video is most likely someone who belongs to this category.)

If anyone is acting like "moral police" here, it's Lallantop, not the police.

Having seen a number of videos anchored by Vishal, I think this guy is the most self-righteous and morally most dubious in terms of unwarranted moralizing among all Lallantop anchors.

He (and the rest of the media) betrays his hypocrisy by repeatedly invoking the "Sikh" status of the police officer who helped the "Muslim" young man from being beaten up, even claiming that this video has become very popular among "Sikhs".

Vishal's shamefully intentional insinuation is easy to spot: "Hindus" here act as a mob out of sheer bigotry (including police officer Rathod who has been portrayed as sounding like a hide-bound Khap Panchayat), a "Muslim" is an innocent victim, and a "Sikh" is the heroic rescuer of the "Muslim" victim.

(Building an entirely stupid and false Hindu-Muslim-Sikh narrative with repeated and actual use of words "Hindu", "Muslim" and "Sikh" and thinking oneself some kind of "progressive". What an irony!)

The pejorative way in which the Lallantop anchor invokes Khap Panchayats shows his ignorance.

I don't think he has ever tried to look at Khap Panchayats in any way other that in which they have been portrayed by the media, i.e. as a stifling community of men enforcing their hide-bound worldview on their larger communities.

Unwarranted moralizing completely mars what could have been a balanced piece of reportage by Lallantop.

This post contains the following Web link.

(Lallantop video: Gangandeep Singh, a Sikh Sub-Inspector in Uttarakhand Police saved a Muslim from mob lynching in Ramnagar.)

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

PHFI fails to respond to govt notice on my complaint; instead sends me "legal notice for defamation"!

Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has failed to respond to a health ministry letter dated 09 April 2018 which asks it to "give a suitable reply" to me "directly" as regards my complaint against PHFI (registration No. PMOPG/E/2018/0081416).

Instead, PHFI has sent me a "legal notice for defamation" (dated 02 May 2018) for filing this complaint and for writing articles about PHFI since 2011.
(The image shown here is the first page of the "legal notice for defamation" I received in May 2018 from PHFI chaired by N.R. Narayana Murthy.)
What a transparently vindictive (and stupid) way to try to evade responding to a complaint against you and answering questions that media has every right to raise!!

I filed this complaint on 21 Feb 2018 at the PMO which forwarded it to the health ministry where it is being dealt with by Under Secretary Pradip Kumar Pal.

My complaint was based on information a former top official of PHFI shared with me about a massive bank swindle in PHFI which wiped out the entire Rs 65 crore of grant that the Manmohan Singh government gave this entity in 2006.

Health ministry acted on my complaint by first asking PHFI -- through a letter dated 16 March 2018 and file-numbered A-11035/3/2016-Trg-Part (1) -- to "provide para-wise reply along with supporting documents to all the allegations raised by Kapil Bajaj to this ministry within 10 days".

I received no response to this letter (let alone a "para-wise reply") until today (09 May 2018), either directly from PHFI or via the health ministry!

This letter (addressed to PHFI) had been copied to me; along with this copy I had also received a letter that was addressed to me, urging me to provide "documentary evidence" to substantiate my complaint.

So I submitted to the health ministry a set of 17 documents through an email dated 02 April 2018 and another set of two documents through an email dated 09 April 2018.

As I said, I have received absolutely no response to that 16 March letter despite submitting all documents substantiating my complaint to the health ministry.

The health ministry again wrote to PHFI on 09 April 2018 -- through a letter file-numbered A-11035/3/2016-Trg-Part (1) -- asking it to "examine the matter" (i.e. my complaint along with documents I submitted), "take appropriate action and give a suitable reply to the applicant directly under intimation to this ministry".

The picture below is a scanned copy of this letter dated 09 April 2018.

Have I received any "suitable reply" from PHFI "directly" in compliance with this letter?

No. Absolutely nothing.

Far from complying with health ministry's letter, PHFI has instead sent me a "legal notice for defamation", through law firm 'Khaitan & Co LLP', which alleges that I have been "defaming" it through my writings since 2011 and have filed the complaint "to amplify the imputations" made against it.

It's interesting that PHFI mentions the year 2011, the year I started writing articles in which PHFI figured.

That's the year I published a series of four articles on PHFI in Sucheta Dalal's Moneylife with active participation of PHFI through its Chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy and President K. Srinath Reddy!

I had then a very long email exchange with PHFI Chairman Narayana Murthy. I used the information provided by Murthy and PHFI President through that email exchange in that series of four articles published in July 2011 in Moneylife.

Since PHFI now accuses me in its "legal notice" of publishing "defamatory content" since 2011, does it mean that PHFI now thinks that its Chairman Murthy and President Reddy were "defaming" their own organization by participating in my articles published in Moneylife in 2011?

This series of four articles -- which includes responses that PHFI Chairman Murthy and President Reddy sent me to my questions through that email exchange -- can still be read on Moneylife website on the following links.

I have also pasted at the bottom of this post just a few portions of my long email exchange with Mr. Narayana Murthy in which he not only personally answered my questions, but also sent answers (to my questions) provided to him by PHFI President Srinath Reddy.

(a) Will PHFI be any different under Narayana Murthy?

(b) Will PHFI become transparent and accountable under Narayana Murthy?

(c) Mr Narayana Murthy, PHFI reply to questions about the authority and functioning of the organisation


A few portions of my email exchange with PHFI Chairman Narayana Murthy in July 2011

From: kapil bajaj <>
Date: 12 July 2011 18:10
Subject: An urgent matter about PHFI

Dear Mr. Narayana Murthy,
I am a Delhi-based journalist who had worked for a year with PCRF. I had met you in Nov. 2009 in Delhi while you participated in a meeting of the RTI awards jury.

It's an irony that you have accepted the chairmanship of PHFI, which has no public character and does not submit itself to RTI and CAG audit despite being run on hundreds of crores of public funds.
--   -- -- -- -- --
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- -- -- -- -- --

Kapil Bajaj

From: Narayana N. R. Murthy <>
Date: 12 July 2011 18:15
Subject: Re: An urgent matter about PHFI
To: kapil bajaj <>

Dear Kapil
Thanks for your mail. I have just accepted the position and have not yet met the President of PHFI. Therefore, i cannot comment on the issues you have raised.
Please raise specific questions and i will take thrm up with the authorities and request them to provide answers.

Warm regards
Narayana Murthy

Sent from my iPhone

From: Narayana N. R. Murthy <>
Date: 18 July 2011 01:24
Subject: RE: Pls respond to my queries on PHFI
To: kapil bajaj <>

Dear Kapil,
Here are my answers to your seven questions you asked in your previous mail. The rest will be answered once I get the details from the President’s office.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Warm regards,
Narayana Murthy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Narayana N. R. Murthy <>
Date: 23 July 2011 at 17:29
Subject: FW: An urgent matter about PHFI
To: kapil bajaj <>

Dear Kapil,
Here are answers to your questions.
Warm regards,
Narayana Murthy


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