Activist Kavita Krishna has lashed out at India Today’s Rahul Kanwal for his alleged hate speech amidst a global pandemic staring Indians in their face. She also tagged veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai requesting him to take a stand what she felt was an attempt by India Today to demonise India’s Muslims.
More than 1 lakh people have lost their lives to this virus globally with the positive coronavirus cases rising sharply in India. But, India Today decided to shift its focus on madrasa students staying different religious boarding schools of Delhi.
Rahul Kanwal, whose Twitter bio describes him as the News Director of the India Today Group, took to Twitter to plug his special programme on Delhi’s madrasas as he wrote on Friday, “An @IndiaToday reality check finds Madrasas in the capital violating national lockdown rules. Kids crammed into small rooms. No social distancing norms followed. Teacher boasts he’s hiding kids from the police. Another claims he’s paid off local police. Watch 8 pm @IndiaToday.”
An @IndiaToday reality check finds Madrasas in the capital violating national lockdown rules. Kids crammed into small rooms. No social distancing norms followed. Teacher boasts he’s hiding kids from the police. Another claims he’s paid off local police. Watch 8 pm @IndiaToday pic.twitter.com/MUHiOBv4Rn
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) April 10, 2020
Kanwal’s tweet for his upcoming programme, which was broadcast on Saturday evening, left many seething as they detected an attempt to demonise India’s Muslim community in India Today’s journalism. Leading the outrage was activist Kavita Krishnan, who wrote on Twitter, “This is open hate speech masquerading as investigative journalism. Please call it out loudly and clearly, all real Indian journalists. Including colleagues of Kanwal,
@sardesairajdeep . This is just NOT OK. Especially obnoxious during a pandemic.”
This is open hate speech masquerading as investigative journalism.
Please call it out loudly and clearly, all real Indian journalists.
Including colleagues of Kanwal, @sardesairajdeep. This is just NOT OK. Especially obnoxious during a pandemic. pic.twitter.com/Qr9YHpFvEe
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) April 11, 2020
She recorded a video in English and Hindi each to express her outrage against India Today’s alleged hate speech, slamming the media group for what she said was ‘dustbin of journalism.’ She said, “This is a message especially for Rahul Kanwal and India Today who are doing a story at 8 tonight on madrasa hotspots. This is during a pandemic. This is during an immense human tragedy that we are witnessing today in the world and in India and here is a man calling himself an Indian journalist.”
She continued, “This is not journalism. Behind that nice, smooth face that you are in the same category as the Zee News and the (Arnab Goswami’s) Republic TVs of the world and that is where you belong. You belong in the dustbin of journalism. This is not journalism, this is hate-mongering. You are a hate monger and history will remember you, history will judge you and will judge each of your colleagues who remain silent.”
Video message to Rahul Kanwal and his company and colleagues on his poison peddling shows. History will judge you. pic.twitter.com/bzbRGSwwUo
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) April 11, 2020
Krishnan wasn’t the only one slamming Kanwal and Sardesai, who works for India Today as the group’s consulting editor. Here’s how they reacted;
@sardesairajdeep is a one of the many consultants there and has very limited say in the affairs of the channel. Rahul is his Boss.
Rahul decides. Rajdeep follows. https://t.co/ciQoGFc80O
— Dilip Mandal (@Profdilipmandal) April 11, 2020
— Siddharth? (@DearthOfSid) April 11, 2020
How do you sleep peacefully at night by demonising orphan and/or extremely poor kids?
— Parth MN (@parthpunter) April 11, 2020
@sardesairajdeep silence from you is just not acceptable. It only proves that the channel is using you as a liberal, fair and empathetic front while the hate mongering is carried out by Kanwal & Co. Very disappointing to say the least. https://t.co/3dOE73nELM
— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) April 11, 2020
A thousand shames for a government that refuses to see that kids in a residential hostel can’t go home with 4 hours warning. Especially kids who are poor. If the state has this attitude then it is the state’s responsibility to send them home safely. https://t.co/t4cADU0BZz
— AnnieZaidi (@anniezaidi) April 11, 2020
Young children, many orphans and from extremely poor families studying in madrasas ~ living in the hostels there~ could not go home in tje 4 hours they were given to evacuate.
Instead of trying to arrange something for them brave journalist does a sting with hidden camera. https://t.co/5b4B79OANb
— Rana Safvi رعنا राना (@iamrana) April 11, 2020
Saying history will judge them is not enough @kavita_krishnan . Those who peddle hate day after day must be brought to justice. Hopefully some day they will be.
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) April 11, 2020
India Today has not reacted to the outrage, which also saw Twitterati trending hashtag #ThooRahulKanwalThoo on Twitter. Kanwal has tweeted defeding his show as he wrote, “Folks, a story is a story and it needs to be told. You cannot love one kind of investigation because it unearths something you want exposed and then dislike the next reality check because it throws up an image you had rather not see. Being trolled is like water off our backs.’