At least 30 children died in a government run hospital in Gorakhpur, the home town of Uttar Pradesh chief ministter, Yogi Adityanath, on Friday due to stop in supply of liquid oxygen. This took the death toll to 60 as more children had died of same reason in the week.
One would have expected an outrage on the criminal negligence of the administration particularly when, it emerged, Adityanath had visited this hospital only two days ago. But, sadly, the news of 30 children forced to die in one day wasn’t enough to shake the conscience of channels, most of whom were busy carrying out the government propaganda on patriotism.
This could only happen in India, a country, which has now become synonymous to insensitivity to human misery and where we are increasingly getting used to looking at human catastrophe through the prism of political ideologies and its subsequent financial benefits.
Some channels ran shows on Akshay Kumar’s new release Toilet, Ek Prem Katha, while others broadcast special shows on nationalism. One journalist from Times Now told a panellist of her show that deaths of 30 children wasn’t a real issue. Admonishing a panellist on her show, Navika Kumar, who is the managing editor of her channel, said, “The debate is on Vande Matram, you are bringing up this issue because you are running away from ‘real’ issue.”
As expected, she became a subject of ridicule on the microblogging site, Twitter.
— Kapil (@kapsology) August 12, 2017
I believe news channel anchor said today why are you distracting public with Gorakhpur deaths when focus is on Vande Mataram!God help media!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 11, 2017
— The-Lying-Lama (@KyaUkhaadLega) August 12, 2017
— tushar sheth (@Pehledesh) August 11, 2017
Navika wasn’t the only one facing Twitter on the tragic deaths of 30 children in Gorakhpur. Social media users also mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘unusual’ silence and perceived reluctance in posting any tweet. Unusual because, Modi would comment or tweet with lightening speed in when even people died in any tragedy on foreign soil or non-BBJP ruled states in India.
Here are some of his famous tweets from the past;
Some even pointed out that Modi wasting no time in expressing his ‘pain’ on the collapse of a flyover in Kolkata last year or suicide of Gajendra Singh was because oh incidents had potential to help him politically. While in Bengal, he was keen to extract political mileage ahead of assembly elections, Singh’s suicide enabled him to malign Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government.
Dear @narendramodi, my team is compiling political reaction on deaths of 30 children in Gorakhpur. They can't find ur tweet. Can u pls help?
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) August 12, 2017
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 12, 2017
— SB (@sbala13) August 12, 2017
— Khalid Hussain (@khalidmfp) August 11, 2017