It is now becoming increasingly clear that Tehelka is running a motivated political campaign against the BJP and Narendra Modi in Gujarat. Nitin over at the Acorn in a two piece series of articles has ripped apart Tehelka’s selective culling of facts to draw dubious conclusions on public health and poverty alleviation in Gujarat.  We also had Kishore Asthana in a guest post on INI highlight how Tehelka deliberately misleads on Godhra in its 3rd Nov issue with headlines like “diabolical lie”.

Tehelka has clearly failed to mobilize the rest of the mainstream media to rally behind it. This becomes evident from the desperate attempts to defend its expose first from within its ranks and now from friends in the Outlook. This time it is Mahesh Peri, publisher of the Outlook Magazine writing in The Rediff in defense of the questionable expose on the Gujarat riots

 Offstumped poses the following questions to Mr. Peri with specific references to his article in this open letter.

Dear Mr. Peri

You accuse the average Indian of being immune to tragedy, death and human suffering and not speaking out.

Well Mr. Peri, this average Indian is also not immune to deceit, subterfuge and disingenuous arguments.

This average Indian is speaking out to pose the following questions to you on Tehelka’s credentials and your disingenuous defense of Tehelka.

You claim to know Tarun Tejpal and Aniruddha Bahal well and to you that is reason enough to not question the sting. So if you know them so well could you please answer the following questions.

What is the nexus between Tarun Tejpal and Mohd Shahabuddin ?

Why have Tarun Tejpal and Tehelka maintained an assiduous silence on Mohd Shahabuddin’s role in the alleged ISI plot to kill Tarun Tejpal despite doing in-depth stories on his ?

Why have Tarun Tejpal and Tehelka completely avoided any investigative journalism and complete silence on the alleged ISI plot to kill Tarun Tejpal and Aniruddha Bahal ?

What explains Tarun Tejpal’s abject ignorance on this alleged plot despite enjoying Z Category security for 3 whole years ?

What explains Tehelka’s ability to setup an exclusive interview with a former DG of ISI in less than 48 hours after 9-11 ?

What explains Tehelka’s complete silence on the alleged ISI plot in the above interview when only a couple of weeks before a chargesheet was filed in a Delhi court naming Mohd Shahabuddin and the ISI in relation to this plot ?

Where is Tehelka’s integrity as an investigative journalism agent having glossed over the fate of the 6 alleged hit men who were arrested in May of 2001 and have since disappeared from public memory ?

Did Tehelka conspire with Mohd Shahabuddin to float a bogus ISI plot to gain public sympathy as it faced the heat from the then Government on account of Operation West End ?

Were these 6 individuals made scapegoats to lend credibility to this bogus plot ?

Your defense of Tehelka is premised on the philosophy of following a story and putting it in the public domain, without bothering about the after-effects.

Does this philosophy also include not bothering about authenticity of the facts that the story is based on ?

You also defend Tehelka’s rights as a commercial enterprise and its sale of the contents of its sting for profit to Aaj Tak. You argue of the need to visible and on the power of Television.

Is Tehelka in the business of reporting fact or manufacturing fiction to be a viable commercial enterprise ?

How pray is justice served and credibility of Journalism furthered by lacing the contents of the sting with scenes from a movie (Parzania) ?

Is this blurring of fact with fiction that you are referring to when you defend Tehelka’s right to exploit the power of television ?

Mr. Peri you call criticism of Tehelka shameful, dangerous and despicable because such criticism has questioned the timing of the sting, questioned the silence of equally heinous riots, questioned the silence on investigating the trigger for the riots.

Aren’t you at the Outlook equally guilty of what you call “shameful, dangerous and despicable” conduct ?

Your magazine questioned the overwhelming body of public evidence against Pratibha Patil and conducted a hit job at the behest of the Congress to peddle unsubstantiated accusations against former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Mr. Peri you make a very serious charge against Mr. Chandan Mitra, editor of The Pioneer with these remarks.

Have we as a country fallen to such a state that murders, rapes, wrenching the foetus out of a pregnant woman, hacking a person bit by bit and then burning him alive have all become part of ‘bragging’? If this is the country that Mr Mitra thinks he represents as a parliamentarian, then our leaders have failed us in creating a civil society and on that charge alone, they must be driven away.

You want Mr. Mitra to be driven away from this country and you make your argument on the basis of a half truth.

When Aaj-Tak and Tehelka originally aired the sting the footage only carried Babu Bajrangi’s description of the wrenching of foetus, but then in subsequent screening of the footage last week and this week the footage actually has Babu Bajrangi referring to the FIR against him which describes the wrenching of the foetus.

Is it not disingenuous on the part of Aaj-Tak Tehelka and yourself to peddle as a boastful confession what was essentially a recounting of the contents of the FIR against Babu Bajrangi by cleverly editing out any references to the FIR when the sting originally aired ?

You go on a moralizing rant with phrases like “systematic dehumanizing” and “collective conscience”. Yet those you defend have shown scant respect for the collective conscience of the people as it is manifested through the electoral process.

You persist accuse the people of Gujarat of condoning mass rapes and murders and seeing everything through the prism of caste, creed, religion, political parties, competition, business, sex, region,

Is it not a fact that more convictions have been made in Gujarat (59 to be precise), more life sentences have been handed in a record 5 year time frame when compared to every other major riot which have not seen any serious convictions even after more than a decade of conducting Trials ?

You score a self goal by calling on the Prime Minister to condemn the contents of the sting. You end your piece accusing the average Indian.

The average Indian has spoken out, it is your turn now to answer the questions posed by the average Indian.

your truly

An Average Indian or on a more politically correct note “Aam Aadmi”

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