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Misogynic: Why is this young woman being hounded so mercilessly, humiliated daily?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*

The air is more polluted today in Delhi than what used to there before Covid-19-induced lockdown was announced. If earlier Delhi would be choked with heavy toxic smog, this time the contamination is not natural. Birds may have acquired space in the sky, which looks absolutely stunning and clean. The pollution this time is artificial, created by our political masters.
Look at the TV channels and how shamelessly they have reduced an entire incident of the painful death of a film star into a national issue, spreading hatred and speaking the language of misogyny. A young girl who was in a live-in partnership of the star is being humiliated and harassed in public. Her family, too, is under media gaze, with reporters harassing her day in and day out.
Three of India's top national agencies, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NBC), have been deployed to investigate the case. Some of the netas are now asking the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to look into a 'foreign hand'. The girl, Rhea Chakraborty, has been converted into India's Villain No 1.
By targeting her, the aim is to attack the Maharashtra government as well as the Congress, as also ensure a 'massive' victory for the BJP-supported Nitish Kumar in Bihar during the next assembly elections, schedule in three months from now. The elections are scheduled amidst the Nitish government miserably failing to handle the Covid-19 crisis and the flood situation in the state. The film star belonged to Bihar, but lived in Mumbai.
It is the same media which forgot to investigate Rohith Vemula's institutional murder, or of Dr Payal Tadavi, or the missing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, Najeeb Ahmed. In fact, none of these agencies were even considered to investigate into these tragedies. Their only aim was to victimise the victims and create conspiracy theories around them. In fact, all those who stood for honest probe of these cases were hounded and termed anti-national.
No TV channel bothered to seek CBI inquiry. They didn’t discuss these tragedies on their prime time – in sharp contrast to the way they are discussing film star Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely death. Surely, the film star and his family must get justice, but who has given the media the right to declare a young woman, who happened to be his girl friend, a criminal and a terrorist?
Why is this young woman being hounded so mercilessly and humiliated daily? Who is leaking information and allowing these channels to go berserk? Why can’t the investigating agencies be allowed to do their work and file chargesheet at the earliest? If she is involved in his murder, the court will decide. But why is media creating a situation where even an impartial judgement becomes impossible?
A new trend appears to be emerging – to create frenzy and put enormous pressure on the judiciary to prejudge a tragedy. This is very dangerous. The judiciary must take into account that those masquerading as journalists have a political agenda to derail justice. If these ‘journalists’ are such big experts, why not do away with the judicial system itself?
It is the same media which forgot to investigate Rohith Vemula's institutional murder, or of Dr Payal Tadavi, or the missing JNU student, Najeeb Ahmed 
If things are not controlled on time, a much bigger social and political chaos may engulf the country. It is time the Editors’ Guild of India as well as the Supreme Court to act. You can’t defend these hate mongers in the name of 'freedom of expression'. One is surprised as to why the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is not issuing categorical guidelines to these channels.
As if this was not enough, a ‘bhakt’ TV channel aired a full show about 'jehadi capture' of our civil services, as the number of Muslims has grown by nearly 1% in a year in the civil services, particularly in the Indian Police Service (IPS). What is wrong if some Muslims, who are equal citizens of India, increase their presence in our power structure through their hard work? The fact of the matter is that Muslims’ number is far below the proportion of their population.
It is good that the IPS Association has condemned it. Many veteran officers have also condemned it. But mere condemnation is not going to solve things. Each day, we are actually plunging into a deeper gorge of hatred, which will take us nowhere. When the country needs to move ahead and heal the wounds of so many disasters, both natural and artificial, these forces are using it as an opportunity to divide the nation further.
The Home Ministry and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must act and cancel the licence of such channels that spread hatred, thus seeking to divide the country by creating an environment of fear and animosity. Such filth cannot and should not go unchallenged. Our courts should seek guidelines for these channels in order to ensure that the likes of Arnab Goswami do not get 'protection' under garb of 'freedom of expression'.
They are using the freedom to intimidate and annihilate. They are trying to kill people through their character assassination by creating a mob psyche of hatred and disbelief. Discussions are converted by hate mongers into an atmosphere where people are asked not to have faith in the system and develop a 'victim' mindset. In fact, those who have enjoyed the fruits of power for centuries are claiming victimhood. The forces spreading hatred and terror are calling others as divisive.
The TV 'warriors' are working as per the agenda decided by their political bosses who are 'funding' them. They are working as per the script written for 'electoral' propaganda. None has time to discuss issues that we face today, whether revival of the economy after the Covid-19 outbreak, unemployment, hunger, floods, or the incursion of Chinese troops in Ladakh.
The history of the mainstream Indian media will be written alongside the history of the downfall of our democracy. Its divisive, contaminated and toxic Brahmanical agenda will be remembered for helping create political legitimacy for those who have no faith in the democratic secular socialist republic of India.
---
*Human rights defender

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