‘Shaheen Bagh’, ‘land jihad’: Another year, another ‘eviction’, but TV media reads the same script

While Haldwani residents protested, anchors skipped the tough questions to mock the idea of rehabilitation.

WrittenBy:Tanay Dhumal
Article image
  • Share this article on whatsapp

Republic TV

On his show Arnab Goswami On The Debate on January 4, Arnab Goswami drew parallels between the Haldwani protests and Shaheen Bagh, calling it the “rule of the roads” over the “rule of law”. “Forget the rule of law, it will be the rule of the roads, just like Shaheen Bagh. In this case two roads have been blocked, just like in Shaheen Bagh…women and children have been propped up right in front of the camera, just like in Shaheen Bagh…I call the politicians who are trying to put the Shaheen Bagh 2.0 model to realise that we are watching them.”

The tickers read “#ShaheenBaghToolkit and “No allowing a Shaheen Bagh 2.0 in Haldwani”.

If this wasn’t enough to make the Shaheen Bagh example clear, Republic played visuals with bullet points to focus on what it called were similarities between the two agitations. 

imageby :

Times Now

On Newshour at 9, Navika Kumar came up with a strange analogy on 3rd January. “I also like the house on 24, Akbar Road (where the Congress headquarters are located). Can I squat on 24, Akbar Road?”

Comparing the protests to Shaheen Bagh, the anchor, however, pointed out that there was no communal angle to the issue.

On India Upfront on Tuesday, her colleague Rahul Shivshankar, meanwhile, compared the protests in Haldwani to those against Afzal Guru’s hanging, saying that “democracy is endangered” when “religious motives are injected around court orders”. He also listed alleged similarities between Shaheen Bagh and the Haldwani protests, saying that “women and children” were at the forefront in both.

The tickers read “Shaheen re-run in Haldwani?” and “2020 ‘toolkit’ in Haldwani?”. 

Meanwhile, anchor Padmaja Joshi, on her show Nation Wants To Know – headlined “Shaheen Bagh 2.0 in the making?” – compared the disputed land to a house, similar to Navika Kumar’s remarks. “If tomorrow someone comes and sits in your house and says it is my house. You will say leave my house, I will give you another?”

imageby :

Aaj Tak

On his show Black And White on Wednesday, Sudhir Chaudhary pointed out that there is no communal angle to the issue but gradually brought in Shaheen Bagh and Muslims in the telecast. He blamed the protest on the opposition’s alleged vote bank politics.

In an indirect reference to “land jihad”,  the anchor claimed that the changed demographics in the state were due to increased encroachment. While he quoted data from PEW research center to say there was a rise in Muslim population and a decline in Hindu population in the state between 2011-2021, the alleged rise in encroachment over the same time period was unsubstantiated.

imageby :

Zee News

On her show Taal Thok Ke on Wednesday, headlined “Haldwani mein Shaheen Bagh part 2?”, Aditi Tyagi also blamed the issue on opposition politicians and alleged there was an attempt to duplicate the Shaheen Bagh protests.

After a panelist questioned the presence of government schools on the disputed land, Tyagi said, “So you’re saying that if that was a mistake then we should continue making the mistake? You’re justifying it?”

imageby :

News Nation

In a show on Wednesday, the anchor even went to the extent of blaming Alt News cofounder Mohammad Zubair for triggering outrage in Haldwani through “fake videos”. Congress and the anti-national gang were the primary reasons for the protests, said the anchor. The YouTube thumbnail of the telecast claimed that the “hatred gang” has a role.

Such reportage is not new to Indian news and dates back to the pre-cable television era. As Kalpana Sharma noted in her column, demolitions were almost a daily occurrence in some parts of Mumbai, particularly after the 1970s. “Newspapers would report these demolitions, but we also read about ‘slum dwellers and citizens’, as if these were two mutually exclusive categories. Such reporting perpetuated the belief that anyone living in a slum was an ‘illegal’ and that the municipality was right in demolishing such slums.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court decision on Haldwani was not taken so well by News18 anchor Aman Chopra. “Now there will be Shaheen Bagh part 3,” he tweeted. Wonder if the other rashtravaadi anchors will see this too as an affront to judicial sanctimony.


Power NL-TNM Election Fund

General elections are around the corner, and Newslaundry and The News Minute have ambitious plans together to focus on the issues that really matter to the voter. From political funding to battleground states, media coverage to 10 years of Modi, choose a project you would like to support and power our journalism.

Ground reportage is central to public interest journalism. Only readers like you can make it possible. Will you?

Support now

You may also like