Naxal Conflict And Press : A Left Perspective ఫిబ్రవరి 28, 2007Posted by Telangana Media in Reports on Telangana.
Telangana with a militant history dating back to the Telangana Armed Struggle, with all its failures and successes continues to be a source of inspiration for the Marxist-Leninist parties. Opinions vary on the phenomenon of Naxalism, the generic term used to connote Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The Naxalite movement owes its origins to the revolt of Santhal tribals at Naxalbari, West Bengal led by armed Communists who parted ways with the CPI (M).The uprising was crushed by the police in a few months by the United Front Government in West Bengal. The revolt against poverty and alienation acquired the label of ‘Naxalism’ and paved the way for waging struggles against the established feudal order by the oppressed masses in different parts of India. There are close to 40 groups in the country proffessing adherence to the philosophy of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism. About 11 of them occupy a predominant position. It is believed that 13 groups operate in Andhra Pradesh, 10 of which are splinter groups of CPI-ML. In Andhra Pradesh, Left Wing Extremism tends to be equated with the activities of the CPI-ML People’s War Group (PWG) and the CPI-ML Janashakti.
Academic debate projects Naxalism as a social movement and social workers view it as a problem of back wardness and poverty. In this context, Gunnar Myrdal calls India a ‘soft state’ owing to the failure of the
Indian State to vigorously carry out effective land reforms and other pressing socio-economic changes in the society with a view to establishing an egalitarian and less repressive society. This has led to agrarian movements like the Naxalite movement turning violent. Competition for land and jobs available with the increased allocation of resources under the State / Central plans has only sharpened this sense of deprivation. To counter this, Naxalites have adopted the avowed strategy of political activity (with the ultimate goal of seizure of power) supported by armed squads who are trained to create terror among counter revolutionaries.
Be that as it may. The State Government has been following an inconsistent and incoherent policy to tackle this problem by declaring a ban on the militant outfit and its front organisations. Despite employing coercive methods like declaring Naxal infested areas as ‘disturbed’, invoking the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), creating a separate police force in the State and coordinating with the Joint Command by the State Government has not achieved the desired effect in the northern Telangana districts where the problem is more acute.
What holds our attention in the context of Naxalism is the increasing reliance of the State on the police and other such organisations for effective governance. The role of the press in such conflict situations assumes significance also when viewsd against Gramsci’s formulations that the media and press comprise one of the hegemonic apparatuses in the definition of the State.
Also, as Mcquail points out,’content (in the mass media) is a function of ideological positions and maintains the status quo (the hegemonic approach) The concept of ‘hegemony’ borrowed by critical theorists from Gramsci’s term for ruling ideology, helps to maintain the class divided and class dominated society. A ruling ideology is not imposed but appears to exist by virtue of unquestioned consensus. Hegemony tends to define unacceptable opposition to the status quo as dissident and deviant. The mass media do not define reality on their own but give preferential access to the definitions of those in authority. In the context of Naxalism. A discussion on how the Press is responding to the Naxal conflict becomes imperative because of the rapid expansion witnessed in the regional press which in the hands of business class with other business establishments. A couple of them (Vaartha and Eenadu) have publication centres in the Naxal infested districts. The strong rural news network, growing awareness of their rights among the masses; rise in literacy levels etc. are other reasons.
All this makes defining news much more elusive. Communication scholars, newspaper editors, media professionals and the common public tend to define and interpret news in different ways. Likewise, individuals indoctrinated in a particular ideology also look at news differently. This paper summarises the views of Left ideologues on the press coverage given to the Naxalite conflict.
Broadly speaking, the views expressed by respondents reads like a charge sheet against the existing newspapers in the State; their ownership, their lack of objectivity etc.,
Failure to understand the essence of the movement
By and large, the Press, both the English and the Telugu newspapers have failed to understand and highlight the social transformation that has taken place in the northern Telangana districts during the past two decades. It has failed to present the positive achievements of the Naxalite movement.
The movement was instrumental in bringing about a sea change in the rural economy. This is borne by the fact that the movement could demolish the feudal oppression which impeded rising of capital by the landless labour. Also because the Naxalites were able to curb the practice of Vetti-forced labour, indiscriminate levying of taxes and collection of ‘Dhandaga’- surplus yield from the landless.
Significantly, the feudal landlord was transformed into a feudal capitalist. In other words, the economy changed from feudalism to feudal capitalism as the rich landlords fled the villages and made forays into capital ventures by setting up shops, real estate business etc in towns and cities. This paradoxical development, the transformation of the economy from feudalism to feudal capitalism has not been noticed by the Press though the movement aimed at radical transformation/ revolution.
In the process of transforming the society from feudalism to feudal capitalism, a section of the Naxalites who reneged from the party or were suspended rejoined the movement and turned into capitalists with the help of the money ‘received’ through voluntary contributions and ‘extortions.’
In its efforts to move from New Democratic Revolution to Socialism, the movement, in the process, as the Ford Commission Report said on Indian Agriculture, helped “change traditional rural country into a modern society that suits the purpose of the exploiters” but the Government failed to impress upon landlords. Naxalites helped this transformation which had nothing to do with the Communist or Marxist ideology.
On the social plane, people belonging to the Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes and the backward classes unfurled the flag of self respect – a Paleru – servant who was dependent on the landlord had become independent. The social and political consciousness of the landlord’s and those belonging to the lower classes changed owing to the Naxalite movement. The changed mindset of the villagers manifest in simple statements like ‘we are raising our voices, we are not like before’ has been facilitated through the Naxalite movement. But this does not find a place in the press.
In a curious development, some squads developed contacts with the landlords in their struggle against them land which has hindered the development of the society. In the absence of their main targets-wicked landlords who had either fled after selling their property or hoodwinking the Government through benami transactions or giving it for lease, the Naxalite squads now fight only the police. Also, as there is no strong organisation, the movement depends on ‘militants’-which has led to lumpen elements gaining a strong hold over the movement. The Press has failed to turn its focus on the lumpenisation of the movement; it can never understand this basic phenomenon.
The newspapers have been and are missing the leadership class struggle in the Naxalite movement between members of the lower caste and the upper caste. The Dalit Bahujans want to lead the present history not only in the outside world but also in the underground. The Ambedkar movement in Andhra Pradesh led by those who were discontented with the Naxalite leadership, has impacted and rattled the underground movement. Based on the Marx-Ambedkar thought, which a section of revolutionary forces recognise, there is a raging debate on how to carry on the struggle both against caste and class as there was no deliberation on the strategic significance or tactical necessity of caste in a revolution.
The Press has failed to understand the ‘soul’, the inner meaning, economic and social significance, the scope and limitations of the Naxalite movement. Newspapers and economists failed to take cognisance of neither the positive aspects nor the negative trends.
Censoring or blacking out of Left Wing News
The capitalist press adopts a method to black out or censor news and views favourable to the Left Wing parties. For example, if there is a price rise or other issues like retrenchment closures, lock outs etc., or any other political development which affects people, the reactions of various shades of political development which affects people, the reactions of various shades of political opinion is available in the press prominently while the views of the Left wing leaders are not covered prominently. Even if they are given by force of circumstances, their views are mostly projected in a manipulated manner by not giving prominence in terms of content, space and place in the newspaper. This suppression or manipulation by the capitalist press gives an impression that the Left wing groups and their leaders are apathetic to the problems of the people. Instance where news of massive protests by people organised by the extremist groups against the anti-people, pro-capitalist and pro-monopolist polices of the successive governments are totally blacked out by the Press. A recent example, When Nalla Adi Reddy, a top PWG leader addressed a press conference to announce the party’s stand on the issue of Telangana four journalists attended the same. While The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and Andhra Pradesh Times covered it prominently, Indian Express pushed the story into one of its inside pages. Subsequently, the staff reporter of Andhra Pradesh Times from Warangal, based on the PWG document in his possession, filed a series of reports. The same was not reflected in other newspapers.
Legitimising Government Actions
Over the years, the press has been successful in moulding public opinion to make people believe that violence has no place in a democracy. But in reality, under capitalist economic, social and political conditions, the rich are given full freedom to injure any section of the society while the poor is asked to follow the path of non-violence. The umpteen murders which take place every day, communal politics leading to riots, group clashes, personal hatred, and faction feuds are adequate testimony that violence is a part of our society which is highly stratified.
For instance, the Telangana Armed Struggle involving peasants was a movement against exploitation by the landlords and demand for land to the tiller. The uprising was crushed with the might of the Indian army and over6, 000 peasants were killed for demanding a decent livelihood. The Press, in the first instance failed to identify and set an agenda for the government and the politicians.
Later, when the aggrieved organised themselves and resorted to violence and agitations for their economic demands, the violence was crushed. The press nods in appreciation and supports the State, through its law enforcement machinery ruthlessly suppresses the struggles of people who seek social justice, then such State sponsored violence gets the sanction of the press. The press is being engineered in this subtle manner.
Promoting the ‘dominant’ ideology or the ideology of the State
The Press supports and promotes the ideology of the State. As long as there is no ban on the PWG and its front organisations, the press gives coverage to its activities. But once, the ban is imposed, there is an unwritten ban on a section of journalists in some newspapers to write about Naxal related news. Ironically, even during such periods of undeclared ban on news on Naxals, some newspapers encourage news only on Naxals which becomes a saleable point for the newspaper. But the moment something is written against the State, the journalist earns the wrath of the management. This is best illustrated through the coverage on the recent bed on the balladeer Gaddar’s life. It is learnt that a leading Telugu newspaper management instructed its editorial and reporting staff that the paper would like to have stories on Gaddar’s health after the attack, stories on the attackers and Gaddar’s future plans after his recovery. A journalist filed a story on the formation of a Struggle committee on the attack of Gaddar was immediately shifted to the editorial department. This incident amply testifies that as long as the journalist filed news stories as dictated by the management, it was fine but the news on the formation of a committee which is spearheading the movement against the State denouncing the attack on Gaddar, it goes against the journalist. The Press is not independent but is enslaved to the interests of the State while the State is interested in the capitalist and the consumer class not the commoner’s cause. It serves the interests of only certain sections of the society. It is for maintaining the status quo of the establishment, to strengthen and consolidate it. There is no place for tribals, women, oppressed, the underprivileged.
Casteism has crept into the press which is evident in the coverage when names of activists / victims of extremist violence are clearly mentioned. Also, in case of surrender, there has been no news about harassment of those from underprivileged sections who are harassed and killed while those from the upper castes are given good treatment. During the 1980s, till 1988 the mainstream Telugu Press, especially Udayam owned by a Congress Member of Parliament, absorbed people with Left leaning for their is a deliberate attempt by the newspaper managements to avoid recruiting people with a Left background. The job seekers are grilled about their antecedents. Any news clipping opposing the entry of multinationals, expansion of the activities of the monopoly business houses would go against him.
The capitalist press in pursuance of its anti-Left policy, takes full advantage of the habit of the reader to go through the headlines owing to time constraints, and twists headlines or inserts misleading headlines. The readers are deceived in the process. Interestingly the contents of the report and the headline do not corroborate with each other. There is deliberate distortion by the Press as it sometimes says that the ‘Naxalite movement is finished’. In case of a major offensive by the Naxalites, the Press reacts stating ‘Naxalites are regrouping’ followed by another news story that ‘Naxalites are building a Red Army’ or ‘running parallel governments’ in rural areas.
Propagating Lies/ Distortion/ Misinformation
‘The Press spreads lies. The biggest lie is the Press never speaks of the social and political significance of the movement.’ Also there are several instances when the Press published reports without checking facts. When Gaddar, the ballad singer, heading the cultural troupe of the PWG, Jana Natya Mandali was issued a show cause why he should not be expelled for collecting donations for his school, Andhra Jyothi published that he was suspended. When Gaddar, staged a demonstration before the newspaper office that it was a lies and a clear case of misleading people, the paper issued an errata the following day.
Another instance Balraju, legislator from koyyuru in Visakhapatnam was kidnapped by Naxalites who demanded the State Government to release one of their comrades, Kranti Ranadev, from the Warangal jail. When there was a stalemate, the State Government through its representative, Arjun Rao and Dayachary, both senior IAS officers sought the help of the leaders of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) to facilitate the exchange of the kidnapped MLA. Insiders confided that nearly 30 journalists who had converged on Koyyur were only interested in the sensational part of the event and were insensitive to the social role they could play in the release of the legislator.
For instance, a leading national newspaper reported that the police forces had moved very close to the hillock (the Naxal hideout) and the latter may be attacked at any moment. It was also reported that the commandos were on their way. A Telugu newspaper reported on its front page, in bold letters, that the police had fixed a 24-hour deadline. This was done when the police, under tremendous political pressure, was in a restrained mood. Such terroristic-journalism does not serve any purpose; it only frightens the readers who have concern for human life and human rights. Certain weekies, fortnightly and monthlies had their own stories to write. Quite a few of these reports were distorted, loaded and prejudiced. They hardly made any effort to interview the persons concerned or make a fair assessment of the situation. Such reportage of events poses a threat to human rights and violates the right to reliable information and fails in creating a healthy public opinion.
No proper debate
The first and foremost objective of the capitalist press is the protection of capitalism and projection of its leadership. In the process of defending capitalism, the press does not evoke a general debate on the social and political happenings in the state. Instead it suppresses the evils of capitalism, pushes the corrupt practices of the capitalists under the cover and gives misleading interpretations to various issues to suit the capitalist politics.
The capitalist press has failed to expose that the pro-rich policies of the Congress Government which has been in power for most of time in the post independence era has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The so-called incremental developmental policy of growth based on private enterprise has not solved the needs and expectations of the poor people in providing food clothing and shelter even after five decades. In fact, capitalism has accentuated corruption, violence, poverty, deprivation, unemployment and disease because of the inherent defects of selfishness, profit motive, opportunism, unequal opportunities and corruption which are bred by capitalism.
The needs of the people-health, drinking water, education, shelter and food and nutrition, and the claims of the Government of their achievement are never debated; instead stories are invented on violation of human rights etc. The press continues to remain silent on the Government’s policies to raise additional resources.
They import high-tech goods when there is a need for austerity and self reliance. How can the luxury imports generate employment for the millions of jobless youth and how can the country’s resources be put to proper use to ensure higher productivity? Why is it that the Government does not tax the rich landlords or rehabilitate those displaced by Government sponsored projects? No questions are asked on the closure of small scale units and laying off manpower after the Government embarked on the economic reforms.
The Press has failed to interpret the problems attributable to capitalist economic crises or violations of human values and rights. Instead, it projects that such values are better protected in capitalist societies where in reality millions of workers and farmers are crushed under the yoke of the feudal capitalists with meager wages, under employment, unemployment, unhealthy working conditions and perpetual poverty. Fierce competition resulting in deterioration of human values is manifest in the level of violence in the society. Indignity to women, prostitution, suicides, corruption and adulteration of food items have not been analysed from the viewpoint of a crisis in the capitalist economy.
The Press has suppressed and does not factually analyse the evils of capitalism. The capitalist media experts and intelligentsia have ensured that the evils of the capitalist system are not told to the people truthfully. Even if some facts are published, they should not be attributed to evils of capital system. On the other hand, news from socialist countries is distorted or suppressed lest it catch the imagination of the oppressed masses. This would place constraints on the thinking processes of the people in arriving at certain facts and conclusions as the media becomes an impediment to know realities. The people are incapacitated to analyse the exact nature of capitalist system correctly.
From this point of view, the press has been containing the Naxalite movement as persistent negative coverage about kidnaps, landmine blasts; killings build a negative opinion on the ideology and the tactics among the masses.
Sivaramakrishna P (1991), reacting to the draft report of the Cabinet sub Committee on Left Wing Extremists, states that the only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters and never the violations the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, management of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of socio-economic entities etc.
He adds that various groups of individuals study the Naxal issue from different stands; news value, ideological, political and welfare implications, civil liberties, bureaucratic action etc. without any grassroots level knowledge of the issues involved the bottlenecks and the self-interest of local leaders as well as their parties in the extra- constitutional arbitration.
Seldom do newspapers provide more than cursory attention to the reasons for the actions / events. Instead the coverage focuses on facts and events and presented the LWE as an unfolding drama to be chronicled, rather than as a manifestation of a severe societal maladjustment that requires explanation. The result of this kind of coverage is two-fold. As various critics have noted, by covering ‘protests’ simply as events, without explaining the underlying causes, reporters fail to provide readers with the information they need to understand the dissidents’ grievances. The various segments of society remain sealed off from each other, and opportunities for increased understanding and remedial action are lost.
Also the papers’ focus on violence combined with their inattention to the activists’ motives, helps create a picture the LWE as unreasonably demanding and militant. This type of coverage, Eric D.Blanchard has observed, frightens and alienates the readers, reinforcing the beliefs of those who believe the protesters are criminals.
The contention of the ideologues on media inattention to causes lends support to the theory that the media tend to act as preservers of status quo by providing unsympathetic coverage to those whose behaviour threatens it.
It is indeed possible for the journalists to dig below the surface to uncover the causes of LWF or even simply to seek out dissidents’ and allow them to explain their grievances in their own words. Such coverage could make a significant contribution to the health of the society by clarifying the issues involved in social upheaval and possibly outlining possible solution. Violence, defined as the exertion of physical force to injure, damage or destroy is the primary subject of news stories covered in newspapers. This is not surprising as the Naxalite groups engage in violence which is reported in the headlines. Thus news stories with violence and headlines indicating violence appears to be an eye catching means to capture the market besides performing the function of informing the reader.
The data appear to support Podohertz’s claim that the actions of violent organisations receive undue attention. Podohertz, however, also asserts that the ‘social causes’ of the groups are given equally undue attention.
For news stories about violent incidents, there are three major types of sources;
a) Perpetrators-either a member of the group, a prepared group statement, or a lawyer representing a member of the group and
b) Authority sources-police, the government officials, and
c) Eye witnesses.
Authorities routinely hold news conferences to provide the media with prepared statements on anything considered potentially newsworthy. For the stringers working in the rural areas, it is convenient to include only the authority sources and ignore the challengers.
Heavy utilisation of the authority sources leads to labeling the groups. As mentioned earlier, one person’s ‘freedom fighter’ can be another man’s ‘terrorist.’ Invariably, the police tend to look at the groups, irrespective of the social moorings of their movement as extremists or terrorists. The activists, however, however, prefer to be labeled as independent groups, people’s armies or liberation forces. In the context of Naxalism, an anti-Naxal feeling has been built among some sections of the people that they are ‘anti-socials’ and ‘criminals’ indulging in indiscriminate killings and ones without any ideology.
Poll Process and the Press
Another weakness of the press, according to ideologues, is that it does an excellent job of events but fails to evince interest in the processes that led to the events. For instance, the press has failed to focus on the unresolved and question and the continued tribal exploitation that provided a breeding ground for Naxalites. Nor has it adequately dealt with the inconsistency of political parties in dealing with the poll boycott call of Naxalites. For example, the founder of the Telugu Desam Party N.T.Rama Rao described the Naxalites as patriots. Later, in 1991 he said that he would neither seek Naxalite help nor would he reject it. The Congress claimed that it was implementing land reforms and tribal welfare programmes while Ramvilas Paswan, one of the top leaders of the Janata Dal, who left the party during the height of the mandal agitation shared public platform with PWG’s singer-poet Gaddar. Laxmi Parvati during her campaign tour of the Naxal infested areas in her speeches in favour the Naxalites.
The press chooses to be a key player in the political process but it failed to document the disinterest and disregard in the democratic process by the voters who turned out in poor numbers on the day of the election. In the last parliamentary elections, 480 people filed their nominations for the Nalgonda constituency. Elections were held much later. The long standing grievances for water needs were not highlighted by the press but the travails of the election officials were duly mentioned. There were no follow up stories, not to mention the newspapers’ silence over the propriety of the Election Commission’s decision to postpone the election. Another glaring lacuna pointed out was the absence of people and issues in the electoral coverage which centered round petty political squabbles, feuding in parties and switching of loyalties of local politicians.
Trial by the Press
Ideologues questioned the propriety of the police taking the initiative in publicising every arrest and surrender and commenting on it in the press. This, they said, takes place much before the person is charged as an accused or produced before a magistrate. Elaborating on the issue further, they said this raises questions concerning the freedom of the press, its rights to access to the news and the accountability of the police to the public and not the least, the people’s right to know. Also another significant aspect attached to it, they said is the fairness of a criminal trial. This interest is endangered every time a police officer holds a press conference or meets pressmen and brags about the arrest or surrender of a ‘leading Naxalite.’ The people undoubtedly have a right to know whom the police has arrested/ or taken them in as surrendered members, lest such things happen in secrecy and be denied. The press, on its part, is not only entitled but is bound as a surrogate of the public to ferret out the facts of the arrests/ surrenders. Noted Civil Liberties leader, A.G.Noorani (1981), opposes such moves of the police to divulge details to the press about the arrests of Naxalites and subsequent comments on the accused.
Glorifying Surrender of Naxals
Ideologues remarked that certain noted Telugu newspapers glorify surrenders and publish them on their front pages. The State apparatus and its representatives generally, specifically senior police officials manage the press during such surrenders by calling for press conferences and put out elaborate details of the various offences and ammunition seized by them. They pointed out that no reporter probes into the drama preceding the surrender. However, according to a published document of the People’s War Group, people in the villages are gathered by the police and issued stern warnings that all the militants and leaders of sanghams should surrender to police or the consequences will be very severe. Police officers fix time limit and dates for surrenders. In the villages people are beaten enmasses, humiliated and harassed in various ways and an atmosphere of terror is created in rural areas. The police release press statements that Naxals are surrendering. In the due course of increasing repression some sympathisers have begun to surrender. Due to serious repressive conditions, the number of surrenders in certain areas is in hundreds. That the capitalist press distorts deliberately to erode the credibility and the ideology of the movement is exemplified by the following.
The daughter of a leading member of a front organisation of the PWG wrote a letter to her father complaining of harassment and desire to get divorced. The police got wind of this information and leaked it to the press which flashed stories on the front page exaggerating and distorting the information stating that even ideologically indoctrinated people do not have scruples. However, the same press remains silent on the sex escapades of the Ministers, legislators including the Chief Minister. Another instance When a distant relative of the same leader was engaged in a real estate business in partnership with a person belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, newspapers screamed ‘ Kashaywar”- hinting at the ‘unholy nexus between the saffron party and the Peoples’s War in real estate business.
Pressmen do not have the basic understanding of the inner party functioning and the ideology of the movement. So much so, every secret conclave becomes a plenary meeting. Also, every performance of Gaddar, is reported as a cultural event or dealt in the same way as the modern day rain dances organised by the five star hotels attended by the elite and the monied class to relieve themselves from ennui. The ideology propagated by the songs and the issues taken up are never properly highlighted or debated in the press so as to sensitise people on the issues and concerns of the masses.
Those journalists have become so insensitive to the killings of Naxalites and the police repression is also exemplified by the fact that the headlines both in the English and the Telugu dailies on encounters just give figures. In all such instances and regarding underground activity, the press carries only the police version in a manner justifying the police action. For encounter reports have become stereotyped; “Three Naxalites belonging to the People’s War Group were killed in an encounter here today. Police said, the Naxalites on seeing the police party opened fire and the police returned the fire. The firing continued for two hours and, at the end, the police reovered the dead bodies of Naxals”. Ethics have been given a go by as journalists; in their haste to meet the deadline; they have stopped verifying facts thus violating one of the basic tenets of journalism-verification or checking facts with the various sources or taking the version of the party/ institution or individual named in the news story.
The newspapers in the state, both English and the Telugu are market-driven. Profit motive is their primary concern. Any news story which has the potential of raking in revenue is worthy enough to be published in their columns.
Right from the day of the Srikakulam struggle, when Vempatapati Satyam was killed, newspapers screamed’Narakasuruni Vadha’. Perhaps it is understandable because a new ideology was ranged against the State. But in the subsequent years, especially during the 70s, Eenadu run by a chitfund and pickle baron was just an information source. The emergence of Udayam on the newspaper scene in the State introduced the element of competition. Udayam donned the activist role and anti-state role by publishing gory details of encounter deaths. Eenadu, not to be left behind, and to boost its circulation changed its strategy and the day Gaddar surfaced from the underground and performed at Nizam College during Channa Reddy’s liberal policy regime, Eenadu covered it on the front page with a banner headline along with his photograph. Later, when some miscreants attacked him, the same news was pushed into the inside pages. Again in 1997, when he survived an assassination bid newspapers gave wide coverage not because they were interested in him but because Gaddar sells.
Such instances abound which only reflects the passive role of the press while reporting the Naxal conflict.