BENGALURU: The arrest of Kannada tabloid editor Ravi Belagere last week has resulted in a war of words on the pages of the city’s publications as well as in social media. But on Monday, it was clearly more noticeable. Another tabloid editor (owner of weekly 'Agni') and former gangster 'Agni' Sridhar hurled abuses at Belagere, calling him a ‘yellow journalist’. Incidentally, Sridhar himself was at the receiving end recently when Belagere had lambasted him when he was in trouble with the police.
All is not well in the tabloid industry in the city. This year, Sridhar and Belagere, both editors of popular tabloids, have been separately arrested by the police — Belagere, twice. The editor of another famous tabloid, Gauri Lankesh, was shot dead by unidentified sharpshooters outside her house on September 5.
However, in spite of such conditions that they face in common, the tradition of pulling each other down continues.
On Monday, Sridhar said Belagere had managed to sell his tabloid ‘Hai Bangalore’ only by writing about crime and sex. In a scathing attack that lasted nearly half-an-hour, Sridhar ripped into Belagere’s operating style. However, he chose to end by stating that he “wished Belagere the best”.
This outburst was similar to one by Belagere himself, earlier this year in February, when arms were recovered from Sridhar’s house in ISRO Layout, near Kumaraswamy Layout (south Bengaluru) in connection with a shootout case, and a senior police officer had allegedly slapped him during the raid on his house.
At the time, Belagere had accused Sridhar of being an extortionist and said he had earned crores from his underworld links. Both claimed to be friends since 22 years but that did not stop them from attacking each other in public over time .
Speaking to The New Indian Express, B B Ashok Kumar, a retired senior police officer, said, “I was in touch with both of them during my service years for a short time. They were struggling to make their publications successful. I feel it would be better if tabloid editors maintained cordial relations with each other instead of such behaviour, and character.”
He said this kind of infighting would lead to self-created problems with rivalries crossing limit at times. “This results in an awkward position with bad impression created among their readers and everyone else. People who work with them will also try to imitate them and continue such practices.”
Interestingly, Sridhar’s Monday lambasting of Belagere is similar to the war of words between late P Lankesh, editor of Lankesh Patrike, and Belagere years ago.