With all news channels taken off the air from the local television cable network, the entire Aurangabad on Tuesday had to make do with word of mouth tid-bits as residents in this ten lakh population town tried to keep in touch with the developments in neighbouring Jalna where the police early on Tuesday morning had resorted to a firing after a mob went violent following the desecration of a statute of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
Taking a cue from the spate of violence that had followed all over the country after news channels beamed clippings from the tension that had mounted after a similar incident in distant Kanpur, the local Marathwada Cable Network decided it would be wiser to blank out the news channels altogether, as, 'you never know which channel will play up what mischief'.
Surprisingly, this law and order control mechanism, was MCN's own and not made under any pressure from the local police, MCN general manager, Rajesh Vaidya, said talking to Hindustan Times.
Interestingly, people in Jalna, the site of the incident itself, were able to catch up with the development throughout the day blow by blow. Except for the early hours of the tension, the city coped up nicely through the day, putting most of the information it was fed through the channels in a far mature perspective, a businessman from Jalna, Jitendra Abad said talking to HT.
However, while MCN pats its back at its decision, with no untoward incident reported in Aurangabad by evening, the police refrained from any comments on the decision. "Taking the channels of the air can sometimes very well work the opposite way by letting rumour mongers have a field day. In that case we (the police) may well have to march our way to the cable network office and ensure they run the news channels take over the town," senior official said without wishing to be named.