New Delhi: On prime time Wednesday, all Hindi channels remained steadfastly focussed about how the “most wanted terrorist” and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo was killed in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces Wednesday.
Zee News anchor Aman Chopra called Naikoo “aatank ke duniya ka sabse bada chehra” (terrorism’s biggest face), while ABP News’ Romana Isar Khan called him “aatank ka poster boy” (poster boy of terrorism).
Aaj Tak’s Saeed Ansar claimed that Naikoo’s killing meant “aatank ka virus ka kaam tamaam” (the virus of terrorism has been defeated).
The story was somewhat different for English news channels.
NDTV 24×7 remained with Covid-19, and said that India has crossed a new milestone — the mark of 50,000 positive coronavirus cases.
India Today’s Rahul Kanwal, on the other hand, was preoccupied with India’s start-up culture in conversation with CEOs of the country’s top three firms — Paytm, Oyo and BYJUS.
On Zee News’ ‘Taal Thok Ke’, Aman Chopra said Naikoo’s killing by Indian forces meant “Pakistan ke poster boy ka game over”.
Chopra proclaimed that Naikoo has been sent to “jahanum” (hell) within 24 hours of the deaths of “our shaheed” officers. But revenge for the Handwara incident in which five security personnel, including an Army major, were killed, will be taken further as “agla number Hafiz Sayeed ka hai” (Hafiz Sayeed is next in line), he warned.
On Aaj Tak’s ‘Special Report’, Saeed Ansar said grandly “aatank ka virus ka kaam tamaam” (the virus of terrorism has been defeated). After Burhan Wahi, the “most wanted commander” was Riyaz Naikoo, claimed Ansar.
“There was a 12 lakh bounty on his head”, but now this “aatank ka virus” has been killed”. Waxing eloquent, he exclaimed that the “A++ category terrorist” will now sleep a “maut ki neend” (sleep of death).
According to Ansar, the security forces were all fired up. “Perhaps there was no direct connection with Handwara, but in the minds of the security forces the faces and memories of the shaheed soldiers and their families was clear as day,” he said, in a spot of mind-reading.
On ABP News’ ‘Samvidhan Ki Shapath’, host Romana Isar Khan too weighed in on the killing of Naikoo and said the news from Kashmir’s Awantipura has given the country “raahat” (relief) after the loss of martyrs like Major Ashutosh Sharma who died in the Handwara incident.
She, too, refered to Naikoo as “aatank ka poster boy” who has been playing “aatank ka khel” for the past three years. “He wasn’t just a terrorist, but a “virus” who was spreading his ways to other youngsters.”
Back to the coronavirus on English channels.
NDTV 24×7’s ‘Left Right and Centre’ saw anchor Nidhi Razdan looking worried: India has crossed the 50,000-cases mark, she said. But the troubling thing was that almost 10,000 of these cases were reported in the past three-four days. She explained that a lot of this spike was coming from states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Still, she found a “silver lining”. According to the health ministry, positivity rate, which is the number of number of people who are actually testing positive based on samples, is still roughly the same as it was a month ago.
On India Today’s special segment of ‘Jumpstart India’, host Rahul Kanwal spoke with the “poster boys of New India” — the men behind India’s top three startups Paytm, Oyo and BYJUS.
Kanwal first spoke to Ritesh Agarwal, CEO of OYO Rooms, and asked him if there was pressure on him as there was a literal “dukaan band” (shut shop) situation for the hospitality industry.
Agarwal admitted that travel and hospitality were the most affected and that around 50-60 per cent of global sales for OYO had been affected. But he said that apart from cutting costs, they were also trying to do the right thing during the pandemic and were offering free rooms to health workers in different regions — a move even US Vice President Mike Pence has appreciated.
Kanwal commented that for education and technology company BYJUS, the story was the exact opposite as the lockdown had led all learning to move online.
He asked Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma about an alleged drop in digital payments. A beaming Sharma said that he was actually happier than before as contactless payments were now becoming increasingly popular, and online payments have “blown through the roof”.
When asked by Kanwal if he was worried about the Mukesh Ambani-Mark Zuckerberg partnership that meant WhatsApp payments were now going to be a stiff competition, Sharma just laughed saying: “Bade bade chehron mein badi badi pehchaan” (in big faces, a big identity). He said he was flattered by the comparison.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.