It is sad that a senior Delhi journalist Renu Agal passed away 28/4/2021. After reading media reports I get the impression that prominent sections in the media have shown amazing insensitivity in the coverage and they are not even aware of this.
Perhaps there was clearly even an attempt to suppress the cause of death because she was hit allegedly by a car driven by a high official of DRDO Defense Research and Development Organization who has been arrested. All Indications according to the police report are that he was drunk and tried to escape. He was arrested after a police chase.
The crash took place on March 25 and yet till the death the media did not even report the incident though Renu was a senior Delhi journalist, editor of the website Print (Hindi), and veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta is the chief editor and chairman of Print.
I read about the death on Mr. Gupta’s page yesterday and was surprised to find that it merely mentioned that she had died in an accident. It made absolutely no mention of the cause of the incident, who else was involved, which was the other vehicle. No mention of the DRDO official. Since I have been writing on transport and road crashes for several years, I pointed this out and said readers should know how the so called accident occurred.
It was only subsequently in a late night report the details of the incident were reported. First of all it should be understood that the right term is crash and not accident. One does not fault Print for this because in India not many people even in the field of transport are sensitive on the issue. In sensitive sections in the West the word rightly used is crash. Accident implies that no in is responsible.
What is more surprising is that some of the most prominent television and print journalists were not even aware of the cause of the accident, that a high official was involved. This is clear from their initial reactions. The news they got had after all merely said she had died in an accident. But as senior Delhi journalist they should have been aware of the horrible facts since the incident had occurred weeks ago.
I did not know Renu but obviously she was talented. Had worked for long for BBC. After reading about the death I did a bit of search and found her participating in a discussion held some time ago by Rajya Sabha TV about the declining overage of book reviews in the media. She came off as intelligent and sensitive while one Delhi journalist seemed to be batting for the managements.
The crash also took the toll of the driver of the cycle rickshaw in which Delhi Journalist Renu was travelling. This should have been front page news the next day. And yet there was silence for many days afterwards. What does this tell us ? The auto rickshaw driver succumbed to injuries on April 1. Even this failed to make news.
The DRDO’s officer’s name is mentioned as Gaurav Batra, described as assistant director in one report and deputy director in another.