After the arrest of Tarun Tejpal, debates raged on social media that TEHELKA must shut down and all conscientious employees should resign from the magazine. But I fail to see any rationale in the demands. Firstly, why must an entire organisation be punished for the alleged crime of one person? And secondly, why must any of the employees leave the magazine for no crime of theirs?
TEHELKA has been an activists’ magazine. Whether it is the case of Binayak Sen, the sexual assault on Soni Sori, Kailash Meena’s fight against illegal mining in Rajasthan, Medha Patkar’s struggle or the battle of hundreds of field workers fighting on different fronts, TEHELKA has raised each and every issue honourably and brought it forth on the national forum for discussion.
After the communal riots in Gujarat, TEHELKA exposed the ugly truth about Babu Bajrangi, the key aide of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, leading to the life-imprisonment of 113 rioters.
I recall the case of Sodi Sambo, a tribal woman from Dantewada, who was a witness to State-sponsored genocide. The Chhattisgarh Police kidnapped her and I was framed as the kidnapper. But TEHELKA investigated the matter and published a report along with photographs, leaving no scope for the police to carry out their evil plans.
Who would gain if TEHELKA were to shut down? The bosses of the corporate-world magazines that survive by publishing stories on fashion and cricket, spreading gossip about politicians and blinding the youth away from real issues. The minions of Narendra Modi would gain from it. And the notorious fake encounter specialists would gain from it, too.
TEHELKA must be saved. The new team at TEHELKA must see to it that no advertisements are taken from the infamous corporate sector involved in illegal mining. TEHELKA must be kept free from it.
TEHELKA belongs to the people of India who are suffering and struggling. It must survive.