At a book launch in Delhi on 24 November, Arun Shourie, a journalist and former member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said, “It is the end for conventional media—not only because it is being overtaken as a source of news by the new media, but because of its cowardice and greed.” Shourie was one of the panellists at the event marking the launch of India Social by Ankit Lal, the social-media strategist of the Aam Aadmi Party. Shourie also criticised the country’s mainstream media for its “complete resolute silence” on the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the judge BH Loya. “Every media house should have been running to develop that story,” he said.
Shourie was joined on the panel by Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, who also spoke out against the media coverage of the disturbing allegations surrounding Loya’s death. “The media is also afraid, the media is also influenced,” Kejriwal noted. Both of them were speaking four days after The Caravan published a series of reports by Niranjan Takle, which raised grave questions about the circumstances surrounding Loya’s death. At the time, the judge was presiding over a high-profile case—the allegedly fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in 2005, in which the BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. Kejriwal noted that after he read The Caravan’s story on the questions surrounding Loya’s death, “I really couldn’t sleep that night.” He called for the Indian public to “raise our collective voices” to demand a probe.
Kejriwal repeatedly expressed his concern about the “message” that would be sent to the judiciary, if a probe would not be conducted. “If we can’t save the nation’s judges,” he said, “then there will be no democracy.” He continued, “We used to think that the judiciary can be bought—but now it will become that there is no need to buy the judiciary because they can be intimidated.”