Rajat Sharma

Why India TV did a reality check on anti-CAA protests

AKB1411 India TV reporters on Friday conducted a reality check on anti-CAA protest venues at Shaheen Bagh (Delhi), Nagpada (Mumbai), Ghanta Ghar (Lucknow), Bhopal, Nagpur and several other cities and almost all of them found that the numbers of women protesters sitting on dharna are fast dwindling.

At Shaheen Bagh, only 10-12 women protesters were present, and the tents appeared to be desolate. On seeing India TV cameras, a hooter was sounded by the organisers and soon more women came to the venue. The protesters tried to physically stop our female reporters Meenakshi Joshi and Disha Pandey from telecasting the visuals live, prevented our camerapersons from doing their work and were very aggressive.

Shaheen Bagh was supposed to be the epicentre of anti-CAA protests across India.

Our reporters did a reality check at several other protest sites across India. At Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal, a big tent that was erected for women protesters for the last 66 days was almost empty. As news spread about our reporter arriving with a camera, a crowd of nearly 60 protesters, mostly males, collected and shouted slogans against India TV. They heckled and physically shoved our reporter Anurag Amitabh away from the protest site. Only three women along with 8-10 males were found sitting at the protest site, while the crowd had collected outside the tent.

A similar scene was witnessed at Ghata Ghar in Lucknow, where the tent for protesters was erected 48 days ago. Only a handful of women protesters was present and they gave various excuses for the dwindling number. At Mumbai’s Nagpada, it was the 41st day of protest, and there too, the number of protesters had dwindled. Some of the protesters cited blazing sun as one of the reasons for the dwindling number.

At the Commisionerate ground in Jaipur, only 21 women protesters were found present on the 40th day of protest. There were mattresses, blankets, chairs and food packets in place, but the number had dwindled fast. One of the protesters cited bad weather as one of the reasons.

For the last 83 days, there had been anti-CAA protests across India. People had been making speeches about defending the Constitution. So long as the crowds were present, these protesters revelled in publicity, but now that their numbers have dwindled, they are preventing the media from doing a reality check.

The question is: who has given these protesters the right to put others to inconvenience by blocking main arterial roads? And what are the excuses that are being offered? Some women said they had to go home to perform namaaz, some said they were busy with their children appearing for exams and some even cited coronavirus scare as the reason.

Two months ago, these protesters were insisting that they would allow reporters to come to protest sites only if it was telecast live. On Friday, it was the opposite. The same protesters were objecting to why the scenes at the protest venue were being shown live.

People who were alleging that the media was not showing the truth about their protests, were now angry over the truth that was being telecasted. Those claiming to be followers of truth and non-violence, appeared to be violent on Friday and trying to hide the truth.

Those who vowed to defend the Constitution, by holding tricolour flags and putting up pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, were themselves trying to hide the truth. Those who were speaking about freedom of expression were themselves trying to muzzle the media.

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