In a bold step, the Yogi government has barricaded the village in Hathras where a 19-year old girl was assaulted by four men and allegedly gangraped, leading to nationwide outrage which has now begun spilling over on to the streets due to a twisted and highly polarising reportage of the entire case by a section of Indian media. Hathras Additional SP informed that the restrictions on the entry of media and political elements which have been placed in Bulgaddhi village will continue till the time the three-member SIT constituted by the Yogi government does not complete its investigations into the case, details of which are shady, at best.
The restrictions on the entry of media were necessitated after reporters descended upon the village and turned it into a tourist spot. The excessive media force was followed by a slew of political leaders heading towards the village, in order to meet the victim’s family. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were detained by UP Police in Greater Noida as they were headed towards Hathras, even as Derek O’Brien of the TMC decided to replicate Rahul Gandhi’s graceful fall, aimed at alleging the roughing up of political leaders by UP Police.
The media, meanwhile, was seen tutoring the victim’s family, even as liberal journalists took it upon themselves to coerce the family while the SIT investigation is underway, perhaps to turn the investigations in a certain direction which will help alleviate the woes of certain TV channels and networks whose ratings off late, across genres, are nosediving.
The ban on media must not be seen as a ban on reportage of the case, but should instead be seen as a ban on opportunistic and shoddy journalism, which, like in the Kathua case, is being done by a section of Indian media to turn the whole incident into something which it is not, only to train guns at the Yogi government. The media’s inherent myopia is not letting it see any further than TRPs, however, the administration must be more calculative and far-sighted in its response.
Media’s bogus coverage of the entire case can easily snowball into tensions in Hathras. It is the responsibility of the UP administration to maintain law and order, and keep elements least bothered about peace and tranquillity at bay. For a free and fair investigation to take place, it became imperative for the UP administration to restrict the entry of the media into the victim’s village, as there no longer remains a surety as to whether the journalists camping in the area will conduct themselves in a proper manner, and not work to jeopardise the fast-tracked investigations.