“Dear media, I am not amongst those who will keep quiet and take all you slander and libel.”
The above words are not mine. They come from the 2013-batch Assam Civil Service officer, Ramanuj Hazarika, who was also the election officer and executive magistrate of Assam’s Dhemaji district. He recently resigned from his post to try for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil service examination.
These days, everyone falls into the trap of media trials even if they haven’t done anything wrong. The media draws conclusions too early about any problem. A section of the Assamese media is usually criticised because they publish news without verifying them twice: a clear lack of journalistic ethics.
Ramanuj, on November 23, 2017, resigned from the service because of his aspirations for UPSC. Resigning from service is always a personal decision, and Ramanuj’s decision clearly indicates that he wanted to try for better opportunities. However, he is being trapped by some media organisations in their cheap media trials, through the allegation that he resigned to evade from the ongoing investigation in Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) cash-for-job scam.
A major crackdown has been happening on the APSC cash-for-job scam in Assam, and as of now, Assam Police has arrested about 25 officers from the 2015 batch of APSC. The arrest of the officers was made following the arrest of APSC Chairman, Rakesh Paul. From Paul’s possession, police recovered many answer scripts which are being sent to forensic science laboratories across the country. Last year, a dentist helped the police nab an assistant engineer in Assam’s Dibrugarh red-handed while he was taking a bribe of ₹10 lakhs for an assured job in a government hospital. This opened all the files of the cash-for-job scam in APSC.
Ramanuj’s resignation during the time of the crackdown raised suspicions in the media organisations. A few media organisations even published stories saying he resigned to evade investigation. However, they failed to double check the reason for his resignation.
In between the cheap media trials, today Ramanuj uploaded a video on Facebook with the title, “Dear media, I am not amongst those who will keep quiet and take all you slander and libel.” In the video, he says that he’s not going to ignore this ‘news’ propagated through the electronic and print media, and will definitely file a defamation suit.
Ramanuj studied in an Assamese medium school and was raised by his mother, who is a teacher in a primary school. He lost his father when he was 3-years old. A position holder in Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC), Ramanuj is a Political Science graduate from Hindu College and had topped in Delhi University. He completed his MA and MPhil in International Relations from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) before appearing for the APSC examination. He also cleared UGC-JRF twice and UGC-NET four times. He says that he has mostly taken right decisions in life, apart from the fact that he decided to appear for APSC which was never his aim.
“I lost my respect for Assamese media and I challenge you to prove me guilty,” said Ramanuj in the video. In one Facebook post, Ramanuj said that there must be a free and fair investigation process. The SIT, under the supervision of the Honourable Supreme Court, should investigate the case.
It’s very shocking that certain media organisations don’t know the ethics of journalism. Ramanuj took a 3-months extraordinary leave, i.e., leave without pay, and a one-month earned leave during his tenure for the competitive exam. But the media presented the story in the wrong way. Ramanuj said, “The media is known to broadcast news saying girls wearing shorts were behind the GS road incident. They run news about ghosts and haunted houses as primetime news.”
“I don’t have respect for you, to be honest,” he added. He further says that although he has left the administration, he hasn’t left the state, and if he has done something wrong the state won’t leave him. They’ll take action against him. “The state is very powerful,” he added.
It’s not the first time a person has come forward and raised their voice against the cheap media trials, and it’s high time for such media organisations to introspect and work for the betterment of society ethically. The I&B Ministry should keep a close eye on the broadcast/publication of news items which violate an individual’s rights.
Ramanuj is consulting his legal fraternity for legal assistance to file a defamation suit against the media organisations.
I’m with Ramanuj and other bureaucrats who are trapped by media in their cheap trials. I salute Ramanuj Hazarika and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Dear media, I am not amongst those who will keep quiet and take all your slander and libel.
Posted by Ramanuj Hazarika on Thursday, 23 November 2017