Reporters Without Orders Ep 134: The story of Laungi Manjhi and Panchjanya’s obsession with love jihad

A reporters’ podcast about what made news and what shouldn’t have.

ByNL Team
Reporters Without Orders Ep 134: The story of Laungi Manjhi and Panchjanya’s obsession with love jihad

In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Basant Kumar and freelance journalist, Rohin Verma.

The discussion begins with Rohin’s report on Laungi Manjhi from Bihar’s Gaya. The man worked alone for thirty long years and dug out a three-kilometre-long canal to bring water to his village in southern Bihar, a region prone to severe drought. While most media houses pegged his story as one of inspiration, Rohin, through his report, highlighted the extreme poverty and government apathy that led Manjhi to take the task upon himself. “Even if reporters would have pitched these stories, I know the editors wouldn’t have found it worthy enough to be covered,” says Rohin talking about how no one noticed what Manjhi had been doing for three decades. “But now when all is done, everyone wants to do a story on it.”

The discussion then moves on to Basant’s report on the right-wing’s obsession with the idea of ‘love jihad,’ especially in Uttar Pradesh. Panchajanya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s mouthpiece, recently published a story on love jihad called ‘Pyaar ka Islamic katal’. All it took was a little digging for Basant to discover the glaring loopholes in the story. He also talks about how a committee has been formed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur to look into cases of love jihad. “UP has so many cases of rape and many other issues, and all they can care about is Love Jihad,” says Basant.

All this and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in!

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Produced and recorded by Parikshit Sanyal and Lipi Vats, edited by Harshula Sharma

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