On July 7, 2020, Hindi news channel AajTak ran a story on sexual exploitation of young girls by middlemen and contractors of the mining sector in Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh. In its report, AajTak reporter Mausami Singh wrote that minor girls, aged 12-14 years, from poor tribal families in Chitrakoot, are forced to work in illegal mines for survival. It further said that the contractors and middlemen don’t pay them their wages easily. These girls have to trade off their bodies in exchange for their meagre wages, the report claimed.
The AajTak reporter had also taken to Twitter to share a video where she interviews one such girl who claims that contractors agree to employ them on the condition that they will also have to sell their bodies.
Congress senior minister Rahul Gandhi too used the AajTak report to further his propaganda. Tagging the media report Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Modi government by saying: “Starving family in an unplanned lockdown…These girls are having to pay a terrible price for a living. Is this the India of our dreams?”
अनियोजित लॉकडाउन में भूख से मरता परिवार…— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 9, 2020
इन बच्चियों ने ज़िंदा रहने की ये भयावह क़ीमत चुकाई है।
क्या ये ही हमारे सपनों का भारत है?https://t.co/JGKnU8mdmr
AajTak’s report on sexual exploitation in Chitrakoot misleading
However, on Wednesday, the BJP leader, Amit Malviya, took to Twitter to share a new video, in which the ‘victims’ are heard rejecting the claims made by AajTak. On being asked by the correspondent, whether the contractors sexually exploit them in lieu of jobs or wages, the young girl categorically denied the claim. They are heard confirming that they have never been subjected to any sort of sexual exploitation. When the correspondent asks as to why earlier they agreed that they were sexually exploited by their contractors, the girl is heard saying that she didn’t understand what was being asked.
कल राजदीप सरदेसाई ने एक ख़बर चलाई जिसमें चित्रकूट की जनजातीय नाबालिग लड़कियों के साथ यौन शोषण की घटना को लॉकडाउन के साथ जोड़ कर दिखाया।— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) July 8, 2020
अब जरा उन्हीं लड़कियों की जुबानी सुनिए इस फ़र्ज़ी वीडियो की कहानी..
बताया ये भी जा रहा कि आज तक की संवाददाता ने अनाज देकर झूठा बयान दिलवाया। pic.twitter.com/tzys3zo948
After this misleading report by AajTak started creating a furore on social media platforms, a Twitter user shared some screenshots to expose the AajTak reporter, Mausami Singh, who had cooked up this news. The Twitter user @ModiBharosa shared pictures where Mausami Singh is seen distributing ration to the poor and the needy. The Twitter user claimed that this is how she lures the poor into giving misleading interviews. The Twitter user also claims that the man accompanying India Today journalist Mausami Singh is a Congress worker.
Mausami Singh’s past shenanigans
This is, however, not the first time Mausami Singh has been called out for her shenanigans. Earlier too, we have reported how the journalist had made news for her antics. Last year, the journalist had created a massive drama at the Srinagar airport where she had apparently gone to cover the opposition politicians’ visit to Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370. She had accused the police personnel deployed at the Srinagar airport of manhandling her and trying to stop her from reporting. Her theatrics had then given enough meat to Pakistan to further their own narrative about Kashmir.
Prior to this, during the run-up to the 2019 general elections, Mausami was caught on camera ‘directing’ Congress workers to appear excited about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. However, this is not where her theatrics and sycophancy is limited to. She has gone on to the extent of shielding Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, irrespective of the fact that the Congress leader was openly abusing and misbehaving with another reporter.