This week on Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kripal and Mehraj D Lone of Newslaundry are joined by Patricia Mukhim, the editor of the Shillong Times.
The conversation begins with Patricia explaining why she resigned from the Editors Guild of India. The guild had shown her no support when she was targeted for questioning the authorities over inaction in a case of ethnic discrimination and violence in Meghalaya.
She also explains the importance of the Bodoland Territorial Council in protecting the rights of the Bodo community in Assam. She praises the change in leadership of the council from Hagrama Mohilary to Pramod Boro, and says it will help bring peace to the community.
Abhinandan discusses the Indian Express editorial “”, which asks the government to apologise to members of the Tablighi Jamaat for falsely accusing them of spreading coronavirus early this year and demonising them. Raman explains that all foreigners booked for attending the Muslim group’s congregation in Delhi have been acquitted because the state could not produce any evidence against them of violating any guidelines. Patricia points out how the spread of coronavirus was used as just another weapon by the Hindutva ecosystem to fuel Islamophobia in the country.
The discussion then moves to the Narendra Modi government cancelling the parliament’s winter session. The panelists agree that parliamentary sessions must be held to discuss the many crises facing the country, including the pandemic, increase in malnutrition among children, and India’s fall in the Human Development Index. Mehraj argues that by cancelling this session, the government is seeking to evade questions about the farmer protests and its handling of the pandemic. He remarks that parliamentary sessions, like elections, are among the “last vestiges of the experiment that was the Indian democracy”.
The panellists also talk about the PM Cares fund, how the media should describe migrants, and a lot more.
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