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Godman slaps young journalist, veteran journos say it's professional hazard
Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, lost his cool and slapped a TV journalist, when a reporter asked Shankaracharya about his views on Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The whole incident, which was recorded on camera, took place in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, where the godman had come to attend a religious programme.

The religious leader brushed off the matter, simply saying that 'he did not want to discuss politics'. If at all, he does not want to talk about politics, he could have told it to the reporter politely. Why should he loose his cool and slap a media person who was just performing his duty?

NK Singh, General Secretary of Broadcast Editors Association, said, “I was shocked to learn that a person representing a very august religious institutions, resorted to this kind of aggression. This has defamed the institution of Shankaracharya. BEA categorically criticized this kind of behavior towards a journalist. The behavior was condemnable and in any case this Shankracharya is known for his feelings, which are slightly close to a particular party, and that can also be a reason behind his aggression.”

He also said that, “A journalist can't do anything, as he is committed to the public cause. He is answerable to people, not to any government, not to any Shankaracharya, not to any Narendra Modi, Rahul gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal. He is answerable to the public and it is the people to decide, if anybody is misbehaving with the journalist. He can take a legal recourse, but it will be again an individual exercise and he has to do it in his individual capacity.”

Commenting on the entire issue CEO and Editor-in-Chief of a Hindi channel News Nation Shailesh Kumar said, “Although, the act of Shankaracharya was condemnable, but a journalist can't break the laws, he cannot not loose his temper. Journalist, media personnel and media house highlight and cover these people and help them achieve the kind of fame that they enjoy but then they go and do this. They should at least behave  in an appropriate manner.”

Prabal Pratap Singh, Managing Editor of Live India News Channel feels that its a professional hazard.

Pankaj Chaudhury, a senior journalist at Headlines Today channel, said, “In the field of journalism, this is very common and a journalist should always be prepared to face such things. Its nothing unusual, its a part and parcel of the job.”

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