New Delhi: And the winner is…. India!
After reports of de-escalation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), several news channels declared victory over China, and then took aim at Congress for ‘politicising’ the issue.
At Mirror Now and Aaj Tak, they were still concerned about the coronavirus situation in Delhi which was the major news of the day.
CNN News 18 anchor Anand Narsimhan grandly declared that the Indian Army has “torn down the dragon”. After a month-long standoff between India and China, de-escalation along the LAC Tuesday, had him breathing fire.
But soon enough, he turned his fire-ire on the Opposition, especially the Congress for questioning the government’s handling of the standoff — “At a time when India is taking strides diplomatically and giving blows to China, is politicising the situation internally, going to compromise our position?”, he asked
Political analyst Shantanu Gupta agreed: “We all know the territorial ambitions of China but at this point when Indian forces and diplomats have managed to stare down and prompt a very strong pull back, do we need this politics?”
And then he read Rahul Gandhi’s mind: “(He) thinks about his politics and doesn’t think about his own country,” he said.
Never one to lose the opportunity to take potshots at the Congress, Arnab Goswami also launched an attack on the ‘Vadra-Congress’ for politicising the India-China issue on Republic TV.
He accused Rahul Gandhi of being part of the “pro-China cyclops.”
Perhaps some of this anger Tuesday was a result of his personal predicament: Goswami, most eloquently, talked of Mumbai Police summoning him for questioning Wednesday in an FIR filed against him for inciting communal hatred.
Since Goswami was visibly upset about Congress, he asked: “Where are they getting the conviction to demoralise so openly?”
Senior journalist Kanchan Gupta took the bait, “Even during Doklam the Congress kept on asking ‘how did you let it happen’. The Government of India did not invite them (China) to come”.
Zee News also focused on the India-China border spat. Sudhir Chaudhary, playing military strategist, compared the armies of the two countries and bust ‘false myths’ regarding the strength of the Chinese army.
“India has 14 lakh soldiers right now while China only has 10 lakh soldiers,” claimed Chaudhury. Really?
Chaudhury added that the last war Chinese troops fought was 31 years ago and hence the army is now “out of practice”. And then he added with utmost seriousness, that while Indian soldiers are brave, Chinese soldiers are ‘weak’ and give priority to their family over nation due to the one-child policy. He’s joking, right?
The coronavirus continues to ravage several cities, especially Delhi and Mumbai, which have recorded over 31,000 and 51,000 cases respectively.
Mirror Now discussed Delhi’s crippling healthcare system and the rising number of cases in the national capital. Focusing on the AAP government’s statement that Delhi may record 5.5 lakh cases of Covid-19 by the end of July, anchor Tanvi Shukla asked, “Is it fear-mongering or an impending crisis?”
AAP spokesperson Akshay Marathe washed his hands of these numbers saying that “these aren’t the Delhi government’s number, we appointed a panel of experts, doctors and data scientists to see how many patients will come to our hospitals”.
The AAP government also claimed that experts said there was no community transmission in Delhi, but Dr V.K. Monga, chairman of the IMA Hospital Board of India, vehemently disagreed.
“At least in Delhi and Mumbai, there is a lot of community transmission and we should admit it. We are not able to trace the contact of people coming with breathing difficulties to small hospitals,” he said.
On Aaj Tak, anchor Rohit Sardana was in a rhyming mood: “Ladai ladai maaf karo, Corona ko saaf karo” (excuse the battle, defeat corona) he recited to some unbearable dramatic music in the background.
AAP MLA Atishi defended the Kejriwal government’s decision to reserve Delhi hospitals for locals by saying that our requirement of beds have doubled and the capital cannot bear the load of patients from outside. But she added, “We can only try our best, now that the Lt Governor (Anil Baijal) has overruled our decision.”
Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain also condemned Baijal’s decision to allow people outside Delhi hospitalisation, while claiming that the authorities in AIIMS were reserving beds for VIPs. “We don’t have any such reservation in Delhi government-run hospitals,” he insisted.
On the other hand, BJP spokesperson R.P. Singh proclaimed that Delhi was now ‘Ram-bharose’ (on the mercy of Lord Ram). Sardana promptly replied, “Ram bharose nahi, Modi bharose” (not on Ram, but on the mercy of PM Modi). Really?
One person who still needs lessons on how to wear a mask is Deepak Chaurasia. On his prime time show on News Nation, Chaurasia came on screen with his mask only covering his mouth.
Clearly the Delhi Police chargesheet in the Delhi riots had agitated him: “We will reveal the conspiracy about the rioteers of Delhi”, he said, but before he could make any revelations, his mask fell off twice.
And then came the response which was funnier than the incident — “Mera mask bhi iss khabar ke sath gir gaya, kyunki ye bhi pareshan ho gaya ki Delhi dango ki kitni saajishen rachi gayin” (my mask also fell off after hearing the news, wondering how many conspiracy were weaved for Delhi riots).
Chaurasia then went into a monologue and declared that a rioteer is neither a Hindu or a Muslim, and the victims of the riots are also human beings beyond any religion.
But then he went back to his usual tactics and discussed Tahir Hussain, Amanatullah Khan, Shah Rukh and Khalid Saifi as conspirators of the riots, in a program which ran the hashtag #DangaiShahrukh. Some things never change.
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.