Man burns to death in TV ratings greed.
The greed for ratings led two television journalists in Gujarat to coax a man to immolate himself in front of their camera. The police on Thursday registered a case against the two journalists, Kamlesh Raval and Mayur Raval, who are now reportedly absconding.
The two journalists worked for GTPL, a local Gujarati cable news channel, and TV9 Gujarat, part of the Hyderabad-headquarte red TV9 Network. Both are from Unjha town in Mehsana district. According to the police, eye-witnesses saw the two coax 29-year-old Kalpesh Mistry to set himself on fire in front of the Unjha police station.
The police also traced Mistry's mobile phone records, which proved that he had indeed spoken to Kamlesh and Mayur several times before attempting suicide. Mistry suffered 90 per cent burns and later died in hospital. On August 19, the police booked a case of abetment to suicide against both journalists under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
A tea vendor who rushed to rescue Mistry told the police that the journalists were busy shooting the immolation instead of helping out Mistry. " They told me not to bother about it as it was all a drama," the tea vendor reportedly told the police. " They said they would rescue him later." The police claim that Kamlesh and Mayur provoked Mistry, a resident of Kamali village, to set himself on fire at Unjha police station to protest against his harassment by the local police officials. On August 10, Mistry was arrested by the police after his stepmother registered a case against him over a property dispute. He was later released on bail.
However, Mistry complained that during the time he was in the lock- up, he was beaten up by police officers. Once out on bail, Mistry decided to visit the police station on August 13 and stage a protest.
The police said the two journalists provoked Mistry to enact a drama wherein he would try to commit suicide in front of the police station. They told him that they would film the self- immolation and then show it on television to get him justice. But their plan went completely awry.
Mistry did douse himself with kerosene outside the police station on the afternoon of August 13, while both the journalists - who were waiting for Mistry at the police station - filmed him while he was burning to his death. They allegedly told a nearby tea vendor not to interfere and that they would save Mistry from death.
"Unfortuna tely, they did not save him," the police said. Mistry died the same day at a local civil hospital after sustaining 90 per cent burns.
Inspector T. K. Patel told M AIL T ODAY : " On the basis of the complaint by tea vendor Bhuraji, we have booked an abetment to suicide case against Kamlesh and Mayur. They instigated Mistry to commit suicide. We also found that Mistry spoke to them several times on the morning of August 13. " The journalists told Mistry to undertake the drama so that he can force the police into releasing him and taking back the property case against him," the police said.
The tea vendor told the police that soon after arriving at the police station, Mistry met the two journalists, spoke to them for a few minutes and then began pouring kerosene on himself. The journalists, meanwhile, captured the burning on their camera and did not stop.
"We have begun searching for both journalists as we have sufficient evidence against them," Patel said. " Both misled the victim into believing he will get justice by this stunt. We have sent them a notice, but they are yet to come out of hiding." Both journalists could not be reached by phone as they were absconding, but sources close to them told M AIL T ODAY that the police were trying to fix the two journalists to hide their negligence.
"The victim had contacted the journalists', not the other way around. They police is misinterpreting telephonic records to settle old issues with the journalists, but we will fight for justice." The origins of this case begin with Mistry and his stepmother, who lives in Ahmedabad. Both were involved in a bitter property feud. The stepmother had registered a complaint against him on the basis of which the police booked him. The court sent him to judicial custody. The police said this annoyed him so much that he decided to pull off the stunt to redeem himself. In his dying declaration, Mistry claimed that the cause of suicide was harassment by his stepmother.