Pained over the cruel treatment meted out to innocent Lord Ayyappa devotees by Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala, a woman devotee makes a heart-wrenching plea which will make you cry. In the video the senior citizen pours her heart: “This rule should be brought to end. Definitely this Jungle Raj should go. Oh Bhagawan! Why did they arrest that poor person? Why are they so cruel to Ayyappa devotees? I can’t bear this ….I can’t bear this.” Then she cries inconsolably.
From the video one can make out that she was pained by the arrest of a person who is close to her. About 4000 men, women and children were arrested across the state and stringent sections were imposed on them for taking part in nama japa yatras (prayer marches). This has led to widespread outrage. The Kerala High Court also warned the state government of “serious consequences” if they arrested innocent people. Despite the warning, the statement is going ahead with draconian measures. While the woman is speaking in front of the camera, one can hear someone speaking, in a protest meet, about the arrests at the background.
Many videos have surfaced with women and senior citizens venting out their anger at Vijayan. In one such video, 70-year-old Mani Amma, a resident of Alappuzha district, while expressing her strong reservations about the implementation of the SC order, uttered a rustic slur. The oppressive Vijayan regime arrested her and stringent sections were slapped on her, despite the old woman having tendered an apology. Insensitive ‘cyber warriors’ of the CPI(M) even made fun of her apology.
Money makes the media go
The media has turned a blind eye to the gross human rights violation taking place in Kerala. The mediapersons were harassed and thrown out of Sabarimala. The Editor of Janam TV, the fierce anti-establishment and pro-devotee media outlet had to knock the doors of the court to enter Sabarimala. But there was no national outrage. Even the media in the state also proved to be pliant. So devotees have only social media and Janam TV to look up. “We stood shoulder to shoulder with devotees in their fight for dharma. Rest of the media supported the oppressive government and projected only the police version. We surged to the second slot because people had faith in us. We are sure to knock down Asianet, the market leader by only 17 points more,” said Gautam Ananthanarayan.
But people are upset by other media outlets. “The Kerala media, except one or two, is full of Leftists and Islamist apologists. They don’t have any credibility left. The government had made many advertisements seeking funds for flood relief. All these advertisements are given to channels on commercial rates. The state government is splurging the huge donations to flood relief on media. This means a lot to them. However, people have rejected all of them and the Janam TV is the favourite,” said a journalist who doesn’t want to be quoted.
The government uses advertisements of state public sector companies like KSFE as a bait to entice media. Besides, sources say, crores of rupees are spent on social media to plant pro-government stories. “Despite this media manipulations, Pinarayi is facing a tough time,” said a media watcher.
According to him, there is nonchalance to the plight of Ayyappa bhakts in the national media also. “The coverage in papers like The Indian Express which used to cover south reasonably well has become tepid. Some say its editor Unni Rajen Shanker’s ideological position may be the reason. He is a staunch Marxist and former SFI activist. His brother, Nietzsche Rajen Shanker, has been made Standing Counsel for Kerala state in Supreme Court by Vijayan. He displays his indebtedness by not publishing any report critical of Pinarayi appears in the Indian Express. So far it has published more than four interviews. Besides, there is an influential Leftist cabal working in the national media,” added the journalist quoted above. Grapevine has it that the latest interview has been published to placate Vijayan who was upset with some mistake in another report published by the paper. Shanker has made Indian Express a Marxist pamphlet, allege his critics in the media.