IT IS surely a classic case that how newspapers took the side of the law-breakers, bowed before 'aastha' of a particulary community, ignored the violation of court's directives and more so led a campaign to report something that was absolutely wrong and had nothing to do with the exact situation.
In Damoh (Madhya Pradesh), Kundalpur is a place of pilgrimage for Jains. Here a 14 century Jain temple of Bade Baba (Adi Nath--the first tirthankar) was shifted from the ancient temple by Jain devotees despite the fact that the temple is under ASI (Archaeological survey of India) supervision.
The matter went to High Court and ASI pleaded that the administration did not support it on the issue and the idol was being shifted to the newly built temple in violation to all rules. The MP High court directed that the administration took possession of the hill atop which the temple exists.
But 15,000 Jains led by their acharyas defied the court orders and took the huge idol away to the other temple. The MP government's minister Jayant Malaiya, himself a Jain, went to the spot. His wife snatched the cameras of local channels and court's orders were violated. All through this none of the Hindi papers including the "Bharat ka sabse tezi se badhta akhbar' Agarwal (Jain) owned Dainik Bhaskar, The Gupta's Jagran, the Chhajlani (not Sindhi, but Jain) owned Nai Dunia, Maheshwari Bania's Nava Bharat and Arun Sahlot (also a Jain) owned Raj Express (second big paper in MP after Bhaskar now) reported the issue at all.
While the Jain community held the town to ransom and the prohibitory orders were enforced, on P 1 Dainik Bhaskar reported about the ambitions of the Jain community and the happiness of Jains at this event. No mention of any unrest in the town whatsoever. The by-line was of Atal Rajendra Jain. That six ASI officials were taken away and confined by Jains was not reported at all.
By the next day the situation turned even more volatile in Damoh with the rape of a nine-year-old girl in temple complex premises but Jains accused the administration that it was falsely saying that rape occurred in temple. Again newspapers joined the chorus. All the Bania newspapers who need the advertisements given by Jain merchants and traders killed the news, made a mockery of jounralim and it continued for days.
Saving Grace: The silver lining was Sahara Samay along with Hindustan Times, the only daily to have edition in Bhopal. It was due to Sahara Samay that people got to know what was happening in Damoh otherwise the entire news would have been suppressed. But Bhaskar has been exposed and so the other Hindi newspapers. And if any other community would have violated these orders of court and given 'aastha' more importance then what these newspapers would have done? Muslims and Christians wouldn't have dared do such an act after all nothing can beat the Bania Brotherhood.