Friday, 25 November, 2022
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Aaj Tak’s Anjana visits Shaheen Bagh, ‘Who’s the better Hindu’ in Times Now, Republic

A quick take on what prime time TV news talked about.

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New Delhi: Prime time debates Tuesday focused on many issues ranging from Kambala racing and the telecom crisis to the evergreen topics of Hindutva and Shaheen Bagh. And there was a new entrant in the form of Rakesh Maria, former Mumbai Police commissioner, who has claimed in a new book that part of the intention behind the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai was to pin the blame on Hindu terror — evidence of this was discovered on terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

The Jamia videos controversy also lives on — one video had been subjected to a thorough investigation by news channels like ABP, Aaj Tak, Zee News, Times Now etc. and they concluded that the student was holding stones in his hand, proof that Jamia students or “rioters” were equally to blame for the violence of 15 December. However, ALT News fact-checked the video and the stone appears to be a wallet.

Back to Tuesday, Aaj Tak’s anchor Anjana Om Kashyap visited Shaheen Bagh where she was visibly impressed by the “scoreboard” that said the protest had been in progress for 66 days. After showing viewers the sights of Shaheen Bagh (`nazaara`), she proceeded to question the women about lawyer Sanjay Hegde’s mission of mediation after the Supreme Court had asked him to talk to the protesters.

The women of Shaheen Bagh unanimously maintained, “Jab tak kala kanoon wapis nahi hoga, road khali nahi karenge.” (Till they don’t take the black law back, the protest site will not be emptied).

NDTV India’s anchor Ravish Kumar was concerned with the coronavirus outbreak and whether India had the infrastructure to diagnose the infection. Anil Gurtoo, PRO Lady Harding College, was most reassuring: “There are viral diagnostic centres in all corners of the country”, he said.

But Ravish Kumar wasn’t convinced: “So why are samples from Kerala going to Pune?”. Gurtoo did explain but Kumar continued to look skeptical.

As always, Zee News’ anchor Sudhir Chaudhary enlightened his audience with his views. On Maria’s revelations regarding Kasab, Chaudhary said,  “In our country, in the name of jihad, there are ‘made in India’ terrorists”. Apparently, the youth of Kerala are being brainwashed into terrorism, according to Chaudhary.

Meanwhile, Times Now, anchor Rahul Shivshankar discussed AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj’s intention to hold a “Sundar Kand” once a month in Delhi temples — this proved, he claimed, that AAP was peddling “soft Hindutva”. The prime time debate then became about the “race” to prove who was the “bigger Hindu”.

Viewers weren’t surprised to witness a “Hindutva contest” at Republic’s prime time. Anchor Arnab Goswami targeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for being a Hanuman devotee — “Hanuman Bhakt Kejriwal is asserting his pro-right Hindu identity. His aides have asserted that they are better Hindus”, he declared. He added that this confirmed what he, Arnab Goswami had been saying all along: Kejriwal was moulding himself on Prime Minister Modi.

This conversation was joined by BJP’s favourite spokesperson, Sambit Patra, who had a “small couplet” for Kejriwal. Like a five year old schoolboy, he recited the following: “Bhoole bhatke phir se gaye the hum, aaj unhi purani galiyon mein, par logon ke taano ne hamein bhi, wapas mudna sikha diya” (We were lost and we went again to those old lanes, but the taunts of people taught us to turn back).

Patra took aim at AAP’s iftar parties too: “They all wanted to go to iftar parties but now people have made them Hanuman bhakts.”

India Today’s anchor Rajdeep Sardesai was still stuck on the traditional Kambala race in Karnataka. He claimed that “it has suddenly become the new nursery for Indian sprinters.”

Mirror Now’s Anvi Raja went on an elaborate discussion regarding the tiff between telecom companies and the government. She asked, “This is the big battle over the Rs 1.5 lakh crore bill. Is your mobile service heading for a shutdown?”

At ABP, US President Donald Trump’s impending visit generated a great deal of excitement, especially regarding his security entail which had already arrived in India— “the entire country, in one voice, is singing, ‘Namaste Trump’”, it claimed.

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