In the last week I answered a call for help, a call from a fellow journalist with some 35+ years of experience. His by line has been seen on BBC, Deutche Welle as well as international periodicals. He has co-authored a UNDP sponsored book. He has headed a regional bureau of IANS, India’s second largest news agency and writes some truly inspiring poetry and fiction.
Tsv Hari is a senior investigative journalist who has written for most of India’s leading newspapers and who has not been able to get paid work for 3 years. He has suffered 7 heart attacks. He pawned his possessions in order to survive and as if that all isn’t enough to cope with, his own family have disowned him and seized his business and money.
Why did all this happen? Simple really, this happened because Tsv Hari is good at his job, he is a good investigative journalist who digs to get to the facts and exposes the truth.
Exposing the truth about corrupt politicians and police officials in most other countries where freedom of speech is a valued right, would probably earn you a pat on the back. For Hari there is no pat on the back, just the relentless chipping away of his pride, dignity and human rights.
Hari was recovering in hospital after his 2nd near fatal heart attack; he had been continuing to write his blog from his hospital bed. At approximately 2.15am he was raided by 3 police officers and was raided under the power of journalist chief minister M. Karunanidhi.
Duty doctors informed police that Hari was a senior journalist and showed police his ID. Hari’s lap top, mobile phone and other effects were seized by the police claiming to be from ‘Q’ branch, an anti extremist wing.
No evidence of their identity or reference to any case was mentioned.
None of the Chennai press corp. lodged a protest.
Hari complained to the National Human Rights Commission.
No charges were brought, the case was closed.
Unable to get paid work, Hari has nothing, not a crumb.
The following is a quote to Hari from a friendly senior police official (who was subsequently suspended);
“Be thankful to god for small mercies. You predicted Osama’s end over a year back….the local cops here did not declare you a terrorist like Osama and bump you off in an encounter or imprison you on trumped up charges like another man in the north-Dr Binayah Sen. Supposing such a thing had happened, would anyone have bothered, including your friends from the journalistic fraternity!”
Well, would we? Maybe not, those of us outside the country would ever have known and those of us inside probably wouldn’t dare, in fear of reprisal.
THE BIG QUESTION
Freedom of speech and to live your life freely is something people have fought for and for many the fight continues. As a journalist, freedom of speech is our bread and butter. The thing I ask of you is if you are an editor, journalist, writer or blogger, to read Hari’s work and get in touch with him. His story is an incredible one and one that I can’t do justice too in one article.
If you are none of the above then I ask you to read Hari’s work. Make his a known name outside Chennai, get in touch with the Indian government and tell them we know the name TSV HARI and we are standing up for a fellow human beings right to live a peaceable, productive and free life.
To read Hari’s blog, poetry and short stories go to TSVHARI.com
Follow these links for unbiased, factual and evidenced stories.
Some other recent posts by TSV Hari