Women at the Shaheen Bagh protest site that has seen a 24x7 protest go on since mid-December 2019 | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Prime time debates Wednesday, no prizes for guessing, were all about the coronavirus pandemic . News anchors strove to highlight different angles to reflect the enormity of the situation that has led to three deaths in India while over 2,00,00 cases have been reported worldwide.

ABP News’ anchor Rubika Liyaquat tried to have a conversation with Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson on whether Shaheen Bagh must be cleared out amid fears over coronavirus. After a lot of miscommunication, Liyaquat said, “Aap itna gyaan de rahe hai mujhe yahan baith kar, aap khali kyun nahi karwa dete” (You’re giving a lot of knowledge sitting here, why don’t you get it cleared out?).

Patra gave a rather subdued response, “I am not giving any gyaan. I am just telling you the truth, in case you felt bad.”

Liyaquat, took the conversation off topic, “What would have made me feel bad?”

“You said I was giving too much gyaan,” he replied.

On Aaj Tak’s prime time show, anchor Sweta Singh explained all the precautionary measures taken by Maharashtra against coronavirus, which has recorded the highest number of cases so far

Singh said, “Shops have timetables now… over 50 per cent employees have been asked to work from home so the virus doesn’t spread quickly.”

Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhary took a break from Pakistan-bashing and instead focused on the plight of funerals in Italy. Chaudhary said, “There is a waiting list in the burial grounds in Italy. As it is when we’re living we have to stand in lines and wait. Imagine doing that even after you’re dead!”

In an absolutely tone-deaf move, Zee News had initially planned its prime time debate on “Ab corona ki maut marega Pakistan” (Pakistan is going to die a coronavirus death). The channel received a lot of flak on social media for this and they deleted the tweet a few hours later.

On NDTV 24×7, anchor Sonia Singh reported that there are 152 positive cases of coronavirus in India. Singh said, “The new cases have been reported in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Noida.”

Rajdeep Sardesai was in conversation with Pravin Pardeshi, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief on India Today. Sardesai asked, “Why is Mumbai so susceptible to coronavirus? Is it impossible to do social distancing? Why has it registered such high numbers?”

Pardeshi’s reply was completely in sync with what was expected of him, “I think that social distancing is being put in place very effectively. The number of cases that are positive in Mumbai are 8… Each one of these cases are from people who have come from outside. So far, there are no cases that have been perpetrated through the community.”

Times Now anchor Navika Kumar also attacked Shaheen Bagh in her debate ‘Shaheen Bagh mocks as India fights’. Kumar asked, “Can the Shaheen Bagh supporters now urge the protesters to put health over their own protest?”

Kumar continued, “These women are giving absurd reasons for the same. Some are saying that the hijab will protect them from the virus others argue that if going to the market also puts them at risk, then what’s the harm in going to Shaheen Bagh. I want to ask you, do you realise that all the dadis and nanis are in the vulnerable category?”

Shoaib Jamei, media-in-charge of Shaheen Bagh, gave Kumar a taste of her own medicine, “Why are you giving more importance to Shaheen Bagh in view of coronavirus? Railway stations and airports also have the same number of clusters and gatherings.”

Jamei also asserted, “For your information, they are complying with the guidelines set by the Delhi government.”

Arnab Goswami apparently had an “explosive” finding which he wouldn’t let anyone forget on Republic TV. Goswami asserted, “We can’t sit and watch when the faith of millions of hard working tax paying middle class depositors is broken everyday”.

Goswami said, “We have found startling details which reveal how Rana Kapoor’s wife Bindu Kapoor’s company got loans to the tune of 2,139 crores from one secret lender.”

The entire episode was then spent in finding the “mysterious lender”. Spoiler alert, even though they alluded to many people, they didn’t actually know who the lender was.

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