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Book launch: Looking back at Punjab’s militancy years through the eyes of journalists

Book launch: Looking back at Punjab’s militancy years through the eyes of journalists

Journalist Jagtar Singh Bhullar’s 68-page book narrates the challenges faced by 25 senior journalists while reporting the turmoil and violent extremism in Punjab between 1978 and 1995.

Media persons are the whistleblowers of the society and play a significant role in awakening the people with their pen, said Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan while releasing a Punjabi book ‘Khaki, Khadku te Kalam’ penned by journalist Jagtar Singh Bhullar at Chandigarh Press Club on Tuesday.

“As the fourth pillar of democracy, the media’s role has become all the more critical in upholding the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution,” said Sandhwan while referring to the recent events in Uttar Pradesh. “Only the Rule of Law can ensure the well-being of the people, while street justice is always fatal to any nation.”

Bhullar’s 268-page book narrates the challenges faced by 25 senior journalists while reporting the turmoil and violent extremism in Punjab between 1978 and 1995. While commending the media personnel for their fearless reportage in the face of enormous pressures and even violent reprisals from both terrorists and the state apparatus, the young author perceptively weaves their first-person accounts to depict the cataclysmic conflict that consumed more than 25,000 lives in the frontline state.

Speaking on the occasion, Ramesh Vinayak, Executive Editor of Hindustan Times, complimented Bhullar for his ground-breaking work of documenting the stories of unsung journalists who had bravely upheld the high journalistic values despite enormous publish-or-perish pressures during the dark decade. “The book is an unvarnished account that holds many a valuable lesson for the new generation of journalists,” he said, calling credibility and responsible reporting as the biggest assets of media.

Earlier, Bhullar has written three books namely, “Dehshat De Parchhawain” (2010), “Press Room” (2019) and “Punjab Sihan Main Chandigarh Boldaan” (2021).

Prominent among those who spoke on the well-attended occasion were eminent Punjabi author Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, senior journalists Jagtar Singh, Baljit Balli, Sarabjit Pandher and Manjeet Singh Sidhu, officer on special duty to the Punjab chief minister.

From left: Eminent Punjabi writer Prof Deepak Manmohan Singh, author Jagtar Singh Bhullar, Punjab Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Comrade SS Sekhon, HT Executive Editor Ramesh Vinayak and Punjab CM’s OSD Manjit Singh Sidhu.

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