The suicide of Padmapriya, the wife of a BJP MLA in Karnataka has attracted lot of attention in the Indian media during the last week.

After the Arushi murder case at Noida last month in which media was accused of abject insensitivity to the privacy of a minor girl who had been murdered since the media and the Police engaged in needless character assassination, the Padmapriya case has again brought the discussion on media propriety to the center stage. Additionally the role of politicians in such circumstances is also now on the debate.

To put the apparent facts into a perspective view for the purpose of discussion, this is a case similar to the hundreds of incidents we see in the society. It appears from all reasonable deductions (most probably) that a married woman with two children eloped with a lover with an idea of settling down in a far away place. In the process, the eloping couple had created a false scene indicating forced kidnapping perhaps with an intention of misleading the police.

When the person was reported missing and the police found the abandoned Car with broken bangles, window and some blood stains, it was thought that the lady could have been kidnapped.

The crime would have escaped notice of the national media  had it not been for the fact that the lady’s husband was an elected representative of the state assembly in a recently concluded election and more so he belonged to a party called  BJP which has enemies such as the Congress and JD (S).

When the lady was finally traced in Delhi, perhaps the Police, husband as well as his colleagues in BJP thought that they may be able to persuade the lady to return home. If this had happenned, perhaps the case would have been reported by the Police as a failed attempt to kidnap so that there would be no embarrassment for the family.

To support such a build up, the Police gave a wrong lead to the media that the lady has been traced some where elise,  she is safe and is being brought back to her home. The Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the state also endorsed the statement of the Police.

The Congress and JD (S) parties who are politically opposing BJP and were humbled in the recent elections, did not think twice before using the tragedy for their political gains. In what should be considered as a disgusting attempt to politicise the issue, leaders of these parties gave out the statements that the state government had failed to protect the wife of an MLA being kidnapped and failed to solve the mystery in the first few days as if they would have been able to do so. They went to the extent of extent of demanding resignation of the home minister who was a personal friend of the family of the victim and later that of the Chief minister himself for innefficient handling of the case by the state police.

Had it not been for the pressure brought by the media and the  politicians, perhaps there would have been no need for the Police to think of creating a false lead.

Unfortunately, despite the wrong lead given by the Police, the affected lady who was following the TV reports about the developments got the scent that her where abouts had been traced and the family members would soon come to meet her and persuade her to return home.

At this stage, unable to face the realities before her and the ignominy if she had to return back to the family, she committed suicide.

Most people would think, why she should she not have gone for an honourable divorce? What was the need to commit suicide etc. These are for psychologists to probe.

It is time for others to mourn for the tragedy particularly the impact it would have on the small children and the other family members such as the ailing father in law and ailing mother. It is also the  time to seriously raise a voice against the attitude of the media and the politicians in this case.

The Politicians have to question themselves. “Are there no political and administrative issues on which they can fight political opponents that they need to take up the tragic family disputes to claim resignations of the ministers who have assumed office only a few days back”?..It is shameful. They need to be pulled up along with some social workers who are also trying to take advantage of the situation.

The media should also re think on the speculative coverage of the whole issue without understanding the impact it creates on the investigations and the victim…It is disgusting. They should work on development of some form of ethical means of handling sensitive information.

Finally the Police who tried to pull of a trick with a lie looked like fools and also embarassed their bosses. This showed their incapability to handle the media pressure just like the Noida police who bungled media relations during the Arushi case.

Police need a thorough training in handling media relations.. how to keep the paparazies (News vultures) at bay without derailing their investigations and embarrassing their bosses…It is time for action for media training of the Police.


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