NEW DELHI — The cold-blooded murder of Apple executive Vivek Tiwari in Lucknow has rightly created a storm in the media and politics – so powerful storm that the Yogi Adityanath government had to arrest the cops and dismiss them from job within hours.
But the brutal murder of an innocent Tiwari has pushed people to say that this is the result of silence by the society and the media on similar cold-blooded killings of other innocents in the last one and half years of Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh.
More than 60 people, whom the state police describe as criminals, were shot dead in over 1500 encounters in the state since March 2017 when Yogi Adityanath became chief minister. The latest encounter before Tiwari killing was done in Aligarh on 20th September when two alleged criminals Naushad, 17, and Mustakeem, 22 were shot dead in police shootout. While police said the encounter was sudden as the two opened fire on police, their families told media that their sons were picked from home by the police four days before the encounter.
While the TV channels did massive coverage of the Tiwari encounter, hardly did any of them carry the version of the families of Naushad and Mustakeem even though they captured their statement on camera at the press conference inf Aligarh hours after the encounter.
Many people are saying that the silence or indifferent treatment by media and society of encounter killing of poor Muslims and Dalits has made the state police trigger-happy resulting in the murder of an executive of a multinational mobile company like Apple.
Here are a few comments that people have written on their social media pages:
“When questions are not raised on ‘encounters’ like the one carried out in Aligarh, then it becomes easy to kill innocents like Vivek Tiwari.”
—- Journalist Mahtab Alam
#VivekTiwari The terrible, chilling gunning down of the Apple executive is only a mirror of the 1,000 odd encounters in UP under Yogi Adityanath that did not trigger an equal storm. That was tom-tommed as efficiency! Manipur has seen where this culture of impunity leads.”
—- Senior Journalist Shoma Chaudhury
“The murder of Vivek Tiwari is the result of patting the back of policemen who kill people in the name of encounters. Really guilty of the killing of the father of innocent girls are Yogi and DGP who launched ‘Thok Do’ and ‘Operation Clean.’ The way witness of Tiwari murder Sana Khan was put in ‘house arrest; by police, families of the two Muslims killed by police in Aligarh were also kept in ‘house arrest.”
—- Adv. Mohammad Shaoib, President Rihai Manch
“In #UPEncounters, do not forget to notice the similar pattern, socio economic background and the petty cases against those who have been gunned down by #UPPolice in the last year and a half.”
—- Journalist Neha Dixit
“The frightening scene of politics of communal rhetoric like Shamshan-Kabristan is emerging where encounter of innocents is being used to mint money. When power goes to the hands of criminals then no house remains safe from the fire of hatred and violence.”
—- Former JNU Student Leader Kanhaiya Kumar
“Unfortunate, can’t imagine such an incident, but what else will you expect from BJP Govt in UP, there have been numerous fake encounters under this Govt.”
—- Akhilesh Yadav, Former Chief Minister of UP
“Everything was fine for News channels when UP govt had invited media to live cover encounter of two minority persons, just a week ago, They were okay w/ Govt policy to encounter anyone they deem fit But things changed when a UC #VivekTiwari is encountered, shot in the head by cop.”
— Kumauni, a Twitter user
“Why did a lowly constable in Uttar Pradesh feel empowered to shoot dead a man in cold blood?”
—- Ruchi Gupta, AICC Joint Secretary
“No one ever went to ask opinion of Muslims who were murdered in Fake encounters. No one saw tears of their families. That’s what happens to second class citizens. #VivekTiwari #PehluKhan.”
—- Imran Pratapgarhi, Urdu Poet
“Family of #VivekTiwari tells media they are so far satisfied with the @UPGovt’s offers to agree with their demands — a job, Rs 25 lakh compensation, home & possibility of CBI probe. Addendum: If @Uppolice could also offer sth: A pledge to stop going ahead with encounters…”
—- Rohan Dua, Journalist, Times of India