Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan | Photo: ANI
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: News anchors Sunday finally took a break from Bollywood scandals and remembered that the country is still dealing with a pandemic that may get worse in the festive season. In politics, News18 India interviewed the Bhim Army’s Chandrashekhar Azad on his involvement in the Hathras case, while Times Now and Aaj Tak focused on the killing of a priest in Rajasthan.

First, to NDTV 24×7, which highlighted Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan’s remarks on how coronavirus infections are set to spike this winter. Vardhan had also urged that people stay at home during the upcoming festive season, amid worries that Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath Puja celebrations will see large crowds.

“And on the other hand, the Aam Aadmi Party is giving permissions for pandals to be set up,” anchor Sarah Jacob pointed out.

AAP MLA Raghav Chadha replied: “As far as appeals are concerned, the Union Minister has beautifully put out a statement, so has Delhi’s Health Minister and leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party.” He added that beyond the statements, the AAP government notifications on matters of festivities were in consonance with the guidelines set by the Centre.

“Is this not mixed messaging from the Centre then?” Jacob asked.

Meanwhile, Mirror Now pondered the question of whether schools should be reopened ahead of the festive season. “Covid risks vs digital fatigue,” flashed a ticker on the screen, succinctly summing up the concern.

President of the countrywide Parents Association Anubha Sahari was of the opinion that it is not the right time to reopen schools. “We know the situation in the country, the condition of our medical infrastructure. No one is willing to take responsibility if anything happens to any child,” she said, mincing no words.

But academician Gurumurthy Kasinathan highlighted the “invisible costs” of keeping schools shut. “The solution doesn’t lie in keeping schools closed entirely or reopening schools entirely. States and districts have to make decisions,” he said diplomatically.

Epidemiologist Tanmay Mohapatra said, “Schools should reopen a little after festive season and by then we should have all the infrastructure in place.” Such faith is impressive.

On News18 India, Amish Devgan interviewed Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, alleging that a sting operation has revealed Azad was trying to spread caste violence in Uttar Pradesh following alleged gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras.

“I didn’t want her body to be taken to Hathras. I wanted a proper post-mortem to be conducted in the Delhi hospital only. It’s very easy to accuse me of anything, but I don’t believe any of this. The Centre can do whatever they want just to cover their mistakes,” Azad stated.

Devgan continued to claim that Bhim Army members were sitting outside the Hathras woman’s house pretending to be her family, and only fighting selective cases. “Just because you’re speaking loudly, it doesn’t make you right. Bhim Army is an idea that fights for the truth and exists everywhere,” Azad argued, adding, “Don’t try to disrespect me. There is a line that a journalist must never cross and you’re doing that.”

Aaj Tak used its prime time segment to talk about the priest who was allegedly burnt to death in Rajasthan’s Karauli last week over a land dispute. His family had initially refused to perform his last rites until all their demands, including compensation of Rs 50 lakh, were met by the state government.

The BJP’s Aparajita Sarangi said, “Instances like these are a shame to humanity. Whether a pandit is killed or a maulvi is killed, it is the death of humanity. The Centre and state governments will have to join hands and work together.”

“Nobody has stopped PM Modi from going to Karauli. Why doesn’t he go there? Why doesn’t he talk about it? Nobody has stopped him nor has anybody forced him to not talk about cases like these,” the Congress’ Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, angrily. To this, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap retorted, “Why hasn’t Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot gone to visit the family members? Jaipur is closer to Karauli than Delhi is.”

“Did you have the same question for Yogi Adityanath over the Hathras case?” Singh snapped back, and predictably, this whataboutery continued.

On Times Now, anchor Madhavas G asked, “Let me ask you the question that the BJP is posing. Where is the outrage now [from] the Congress? Where is the central leadership of the party that hasn’t even commented on this extremely sensitive issue?”

Political analyst Ravi Srivastava fired back: “No Opposition leader was stopped from visiting any place in Rajasthan. Why did UP CM stop Opposition leaders at the Noida flyover itself?”

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