NEW DELHI: Yesterday we saw a suicide committed in broad daylight . It wasn't just that, it was committed under the noses of the top dogs of the Delhi Assembly; the police; and the media. The man who committed suicide was a farmer whose crop had been completely destroyed, and he had been thrown out of the house to fend for himself. Despair forced him to come to the Capital, in the hope of some respite from the city’s political class. Instead, he ended as a dead body hanging from a tree at Jantar Mantar.

What went on in Gajendra Singh's mind before he snuffed out his own life is hard to imagine. He's not here to tell us. Meanwhile, there has been no dearth of blame game champions, conspiracy theorists, and self-righteous hypocrites to indict one another for a crime in which they are equally complicit. A lot of declamatory ink must have already been spent on assigning the blame to one party or another in various publications, reducing Singh’s death to the binary of AAP and Delhi police -- the latter being the usual suspects.

But what about the media brutes who kept their cameras rolling as the high tension drama reached its conclusion and man's life was lost ? Wasn't it their responsibility to bring the man down, by virtue of being in a profession which mustn't allow any unjust act ? On the contrary, not only did they not do anything, they captured the final moments of the farmer's life, in a way which can only be likened to the unethicality of 'jihad porn' or a grotesque snuff movie.

This 'exposé' of media apathy missed many a-keen eye, which were in a hurry to shift the whole burden to the Delhi CM's insensitive rhetoric after the self-murder, or to the police, which manages to be the first to flee the spot where they are needed the most. However, despite being among the hundreds of onlookers, waiting with bated breath and keeping the grapevine going about the current status of the farmer through on-site reporting, the media 'en masse' managed to keep its collar straight and act with a self-righteous hauteur.

One Headlines Today anchor seemed most disgusted with what unfolded at Jantar Mantar, and began interviewing AAP's Sanjay Singh with an expression that bore revulsion and helplessness on his face. But that countenance soon dissipated as Singh' s defence grew stronger and he managed to pass the blame on to the police. The anchor couldn't carry on with what seemed like an 'appropriate' expression to him, for long, as he intoned the same question repeatedly. Another anchor spoke like a conspiracy theorist when she called the byte given by the only volunteer who tried to bring the man down and save his life, a "rehearsed" one.

This is not to discount AAP leaders' insensitive harangue that continued for a couple of more hours after the farmer's death, which is inexcusable, but to deflect some of the glare on the moralist media which always tends to have a ready-to-use trial box for everyone, but itself.

There may be times when a journalist may find himself torn between his professional duty as an observer and his duty as a sensitive human being, which happens mostly in conflict zones. But Jantar Mantar was no such zone. So, reporters who were present there along with hundreds of other legs and hands, competent enough to make a human ladder far higher than it was required, should not yet exonerate themselves for the self-slaughter, which could have easily been avoided. Even without the AAP and police.

(This is an opinion piece that has appeared on the Young Citizen page).