Hafta letters: Aryan Khan, India Today’s lawsuit against Newslaundry, Abhinandan’s ‘thought experiment’

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
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Hafta letters: Aryan Khan, India Today’s lawsuit against Newslaundry, Abhinandan’s ‘thought experiment’
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This is my second letter to NL Hafta, needless to say - Big fan!

If we take away the noise around the Aryan Khan case, essentially what's happened is that an Indian agency visited a place based on a tip, happened to spot a famous person and took him into custody. Since then all that's been done is infringement of his privacy to find something by going through his mobile and interrogation while continually asking the court for more time to find something concrete.

Thanks to American legal shows, we've heard of concepts like illegal detention, illegal search, limited warrants and fruit of the forbidden tree being inadmissible. All of which seem to apply here but for the fact that this is happening in India and not the US.

Would love to hear a legal view/opinion from someone well versed with Indian Law. Put another way, can an Indian agency simply pick someone off the street and search their mobile/online activities until they find something?

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I prefer anonymity. I generally listen to all shows, a bit late (three to four weeks). I recently listened to the Hafta where the team discussed reservations etc. Let me share a recent incident that happened at the mathematics department in [an institute in Kerala]. They recently concluded admissions for their Masters' programme. The process involves a written examination followed by an interview. Since the place is filled with upper caste people, the disgust that some people express in following the reservation policy, even in official fora is puke-worthy.

For example, the schedule of interviews, the top scorer in the written exam was from the general category and was interviewed as the first candidate, while the second top scorer was an ST candidate who was interviewed as the last but one. The ST candidate out-performed everyone in the interviews. But the committee chair wanted to reduce his marks, so that it could appear, as though he made it into the institute, because of reservation. This is to also actively ensure that no other person from a similar background enters the institute. Further, when an ST candidate’s marks are reduced and he is shown to have benefitted (from reservation policy), there is now space created to include one more general candidate. This is how reservation policy is attempted to be implemented in several such places.

A few of us fought this time, and ensured that the policy was implemented correctly.

***

Yesterday while I was listening to NL Hafta 350, I heard Raman Kirpal making a statement during the discussion on Kashmir killings, that in the 80s, security forces would line up all male members and shoot them. On your question on when that was, he could not give a proper reply. Even the journalist from Kashmir could not support him.

I am a retired Colonel. I served in those years and even later. I or anybody, for that matter, cannot vouch for this kind of allegation. Yes, excesses could have been committed, inadvertently, but not to the extent Raman stated. You or Raman could point out the incident and support it with an authentic news item – a paper cutting or link – if what is stated is true.

Such sweeping statements are not expected from a responsible journalist.

I have great sympathy for the Kashmiri people. They are stuck between the devil and the deep sea.

Col PS Randhawa (Retd)

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Hi Newslaundry team, in light of the Aaj Tak copyright strike on your YouTube channel I started to think about the fact that Ms Madhu Trehan and Mr Aroon Purie are siblings. Please don't misinterpret my question as trolling. I hold your team and Ms Trehan in high regard. I sincerely wish to understand whether newslaundry's objective of clean journalism is subtly impacted by such personal relationships. The impact could be on Aaj Tak's journalistic standards as well but probably after pigs fly. Is your objective truly altruistic or just economic/ideological diversification of privileged families (similar to how Madhavrao Scindia was in Congress while Vasundhara Raje in BJP)?

I also recognise that we all have a separation between our professional and personal lives but I am looking for a more nuanced response to my question. Please pardon me if anything I said was inappropriate and feel free to ignore my question.

Mayank Pande

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Hello team,

Please enable the download option for podcasts. I cannot listen to them while my office VPN is connected.

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Hi NL team,

I've noticed that some readers have requested to invite more right-wing pundits to panel discussions.

In principle, all of us would like to hear diverse opinions in a discussion. However, discussions should be edifying and not just entertaining. Most right-wing pundits I’ve seen use whataboutery, misdirection and gaslighting and they are unable to provide logic-based honest arguments. Debates hosted by Barkha Dutt on Mojo (for example) are unwatchable because of guests like PKD Nambiar, Subhrashta and Mohandas Pai. They are invited to burnish the channel's reputation for “neutrality”. They are unwilling to concede valid points by others, they don't bring facts to the debate, they won't accept their own hypocrisies, and they clearly don't believe in the arguments they are making. Please invite honest, learned right-wing panelists if and when you can find them.

Thanks,

Arun Radhakrishnan (happy subscriber)

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I was surprised by the thought experiment put forth by Abhinandan, about the trial of the German nonagenarian. Not only by the sincere confusion in his voice but also by the use of a couple of rather fallacious analogies. She’s facing the adolescent court and she’s being accused of being an accessory to murder (and not for murder itself). On the charge itself there can be no doubt that she was an active participant in the smooth functioning of the camp. As active as any guard (!) for instance. Running a killing machine like a concentration camp necessitated the participation of many such role players. As for the culpability: for me, 18 means adult. The weak do seek the protection of bullies and killers, and they exchange services for protection. Every criminal has a context and so while you can sympathise you shouldn’t absolve them of responsibility. I wanted to also say that it was shocking to hear Abhinandan attempting to draw an analogy between the trial and the media persecution of freaky Bill. One is about aiding in the functioning of a concentration camp (!) and the other is about the nature of consent. For the sake of brevity, please see Section 376 C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

LOVE NL, biggest fan of Manisha Pande.

Aroon Menon

***

In Hafta 351, Abhinandan mentioned India Today Conclave being a BJP event. After a little google search, I did find that in events between 2007 to 2021, there happened to be five state partner sponsors in total.

This sponsorship happened when BJP was in power, in four states, and one when INC was in power. Since it is the state money, is the sponsorship amount public?

Though the political pressures on the media are known, there needs to be more evidence to conclude if there were financial pressures from the UP government. By them pulling out of sponsorship would the event be significantly affected? In the earlier editions, it did host people like Javed Akhtar and Varun Grover, which did not happen this time but this event being a BJP propaganda may be over reading it a bit. I would love to know if I am interpreting this wrong.

Since Youtube's corporate bureaucracy might be a trouble in terms of copyright strikes in future too, which may affect your subscriptions, it may be a good idea to double down on offline marketing ways like giving every subscriber cheap stickers to increase visibility. I have seen that my forgetfulness of my NL bottle and cups in the office pantry may have converted some television news consumers to NL "mufatkhors".

Hoping in this Diwali break I can go home and convince my parents to subscribe.

Keep up the good work!!

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Hello Team NL. Long time subscriber. Really proud of the work that you have done on Hathras. I have contributed to the Sena project. I would really appreciate it if I could sponsor a biryani for Nidhi for her great work done on this story so far. Do let me know the procedure. Keep it up.

Sreekanth Reddy

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Hi Hafta team,

I have two questions:

1. What is the name of the podcast that you were referring to when talking to S Irfan Habib?

2. When is the app coming out?

Vasu

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Hi team,

I have been a subscriber for a few months now and recently became a game changer.

With respect to the 96-year-old lady's case, punishment for an act of one's own volition should be administered. It gets complicated when an act is performed under instruction, and not doing it will cause you harm or have an impact on you or your family's well being (lack of income or security). Then, I think a bench of the court should look at it case by case basis.

I still think just because you have gotten paid to do an unethical thing, it does not absolve you of the crime, however, you should get a leeway to some extent in some cases.

I know this sounds horrible but, depending on the circumstances, killing a few people under this 96 year old lady's situation should be forgivable. However once it gets to a number which is unreasonable we should wonder whether it is okay to feed our own family at the cost of 11000 lives.

Also should our immaturity be an excuse for in-humanity?

PS: Love your work, keep it up. Please give a shout to all the people in the team especially the ones who are not visible to us. I have a connection with Chennai, so I feel great whenever I hear voices from the south in NL Hafta.

Pankaj Kumar

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Hi NL team,

I am sorry for coming off as a bit insensitive when asking about the NL Sena project for the Hathras documentary.

I am not doubting that you are doing it with the family's consent, but making a documentary will permanently mark the family as THAT family where the girl was raped. Once the case will end they will be able to at least one away from this village and find peace. If they are willing to do this, then more power to them.

Regarding the subscriber privacy concern, I will support you as much as possible but as governments get more desperate to control the narrative, protecting your subscribers from vindictive attacks is not a matter of their courage but protections are present for them to be brave and support your fight.

Regarding that German woman, I believe she knew what she was doing, and should be tried. 18 year olds are capable of understanding the consequences of their actions.

Regards,

Tristian

***

Hi NL team,

Big thanks to all of you for the wonderful show. Keep up the good work. I have two unrelated points to make and will keep them under 250 words.

First, I am really sad to know about the YouTube ban. Mood kharab ho gaya and am wondering what are the many other ways the fascists have kept in the pocket to stop the correct voices. Please let us know how we can support to fight this out.

Secondly, as time goes on, a lot of your potential market is the people who are interested in economics and not general news. I am a senior manager in an MNC and most people around me do not have newspapers or if they do, it’s Economic Times and so on. Reading opinion editorials is too boring for them. However if you guys are able to get some person with a knowledge of economics and explain how much of the daily news will have an impact, that show can gather a lot of eyeballs and will be a new way of spreading the right news to a wider and influential audience. If this thing can be done in Hindi instead of English, then it will be sone pe suhaga. Do ideate in the group how such a thing can be worked about.

Thanks for the great reporting. More power to you guys

Regards,

Jashan Gill

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Newsance clips can be posted on NL Instagram page, as Instagram also has a big audience.

Best,

Inder

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Remove Mehraj from your NL Hafta cartoon.

Rahul

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Hi guys, is there any update on the YouTube issue? As per my understanding of YouTube policies, the most effective solution is for NL to submit a counter notification citing fair use. Have you submitted a counter notification? Have you received any communication from YouTube in this regard?

Concerned cheerleader of Newslaundry,

Suvarna

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Hey NL team,

Long time subscriber here and absolutely love your work.

Minor feedback to Abhinandan, try not to interrupt your guests when they are answering your question. On Hafta 351 when interacting with Irfan sir, he was not allowed to complete many of his sentences and you were interrupting him a LOT. The discussion felt rushed and choppy. I felt like we lost out on a lot of good inputs/insights from Irfan sir.

Much love,

Geetha

***

Hey lovely team, I hope you are well. Thanks for playing the song I suggested a few weeks ago. About the PM (who doesn’t) Care Fund, how can it be a private fund when it was contributed to, by the public of the nation. Booking students under UAPA for cheering a team which played opposite India in cricket, that’s dumb. Will they book Kohli under UAPA because he hugged to congratulate the opposition players? By the way, I’m waiting for the NL app :)

I love your work and shout out to your support staff and producers who do an amazing job in the background.

Imran Sherif Umer

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Hi there, great great fan of the Newslaundry team and a longtime subscriber and Sena contributor here. Writing this mail right after contributing to the legal fund!!! I am always procrastinating on mailing you guys because I’m not the type, but when I saw that India Today group has filed a suit against you guys, my blood literally boiled. Don’t you dare give up. I and a lot many like minded people will always be there for you guys. You are doing what we all couldn't, that is, standing up to this morally corrupt establishment. Every suit against you guys is actually you showing the finger to them so keep at it.

Ram

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Hi NL team,

Congratulations on your excellent work. I found the theory on the Punjab election by Raman Ji fascinating. There are repeated calls for Sekhri Ji to be less disruptive. It reminds me of the media rumble panel where he gave a similar sermon to Mr Shekhar Gupta.

Last year, I remember a news article quoting the Hathras DM as saying: “Aap apni vishwasniyata khatam mat kariye... yeh media wale mei aapko batadu... aadhe aaj chalegaye... kal subah tak aadhe aur nikaljayenge... toh hum hi aapke saath khade hai.” I guess he is in for a surprise. I commend your dedication to following this story to its logical conclusion, with the culprits getting convicted and punished for their heinous crime.

I think the person in charge of launching the Newslaundry app said in a previous Hafta that the beta version would get launched soon for “selected reviewers”. Yet Sekhri Ji said in Hafta 351 that the app would be launched for everyone in a month. Can you clarify?

I have some recommendations for a future “Let’s Talk About” extension episode on religion. Would you mind getting some atheists, religious scholars, theologians or philosophy professors to speak on it? They might be able to clear the air on differences between religion and philosophy, similarities and dissimilarities between religions and the importance of religion in a person’s life.

Have a great day.

Deepak Singh

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