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The media, its doorstep journalism and why it hates Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mahant Yogi Adityanath

Assault against women is the biggest stain in modern civilized society globally. Western media portrays India as the rape capital of the world, when rape rate (rapes in a country per lac of population) in Sweden is 63.5, in Australia is 28.6, in the United States is 27.3 and India is only 1.8.

Many journalists flourish and make their careers, writing on the politicians they love to hate. We have seen how in the last two decades, Anti-Modism has emerged as a full-time career option for many. Now media has added Mahant Yogi Adityanath also in their hate list. All these journalists will conveniently discount the fact that Yogi is a five-time parliamentarian, with an amazing track record of attendance, a number of questions asked and debates participated in the parliament.

Yogi won his elections with exponential margins even when BJP was not doing great in 2004 and 2009.  Yogi is the only Chief Minister, after Modi who will find mention in the New York times and Washington posts of the world. A simple fact-checking will reveal that most of these articles are written sitting in foreign lands and based on biases rather than facts.

In 2017, when Yogi Adityanath took the oath as the Chief Minister, he inherited a defunct Uttar Pradesh, being run by Akhilesh, his father and Mayawati in the last 15 years. Law and order in Uttar Pradesh was marred by these three characteristics – (1) An insufficient Police Force – only 1.5 lakhs positions out of the sanctioned 3 lakhs police positions in the state were filled by SP and BSP governments of the past (2) Bahubabli-karan of Politics – the likes of Raja Bhaya, Atique Ahmed, Vikas Dubey, Gayatri Prajapati were in corridors of power instead of jails (3) Patriarchal & Misogynist Mind-Set of the governments, dictated by Mulayam Singh’s Philosophy – “Ladke Hain, Galti Ho Jati Hai” (Boys will be Boys).

As we speak, 1.3 lac extra Police force is already recruited in Uttar Pradesh by the Yogi government. Yogi, who works 18 hours a day, started cracking this nexus from day one. He asked the home department to get a list of all the dreaded gangsters of Uttar Pradesh – who have fled jails, fled courtrooms, never even FIRed in the past, because of political protection OR never got arrested even after multiple court orders.

He started hunting all of these dreaded criminals who got political shelter in the last 15 years. He made special teams in order to catch them. In many cases, these criminals fired on the police teams, when they faced an arrest and got killed or injured in police’s counter firing. The Uttar Pradesh police have carried out over 3000 such expeditions in the first 16 months of the Yogi Adityanath government.

A total of 78 criminals have been gunned down and over 838 criminals have sustained injuries and 7043 criminals have been arrested. Instead of appreciating Yogi on this massive crackdown, Media diluted and questioned Yogi’s effort under the pretence of violation of Human right cases. It’s noteworthy that all these encounters passed the test of magistral enquiries and were found valid. Media never bothered to highlight this fact. 

But Industry was closely watching the rapidly improving law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. A safe Uttar Pradesh started attracting investment of the tunes 5 Lac crores. More than 250 of these projects also completed their groundbreaking ceremony by 2019. In fact, in 2020, Uttar Pradesh jumped to the 2nd position in ease of doing business rankings, after Andhra Pradesh. But media never gave Yogi a space for the positive news coming out of Uttar Pradesh on the front-pages or in the prime-time debates.

Assault against women is the biggest stain in modern civilized society globally. Western media portrays India as the rape capital of the world, when rape rate (rapes in a country per lac of population) in Sweden is 63.5, in Australia is 28.6, in the United States is 27.3 and India is only 1.8. The way India is a victim of the skewed narrative of the western media on the cases of women assault, Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh faces the same bias from the large part of Indian media.

As per the NCRB data, Rape rate in UP is 3.7, in compared to 14.7 Rape rate of Chhattisgarh, 11.7 of Rajasthan & 10.7 of Kerala. Because most of the media houses are housed in Delhi or Noida, Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh becomes the victim of doorstep reporting. In September 2020 itself, a 19-year-old COVID Patient, from Pathanamthitta is raped inside an ambulance in Kerala, two tribal girls aged 16 and 14 were raped in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, they consumed poison and one of them is dead, In Rajasthan, two minor girls from Baran were gang-raped for 3 days. But for some reason, these don’t become the prime time debates on our TV channels, but Hathras does.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi attempt tragedy tourism in Hathras, but don’t even tweet about Kerala. TMC MP, from West Bengal, Derek O’Brian also tries to go to Hathras but does not even care to comment about heinous crimes against two minor tribal girls in his own state of West Bengal. And because Yogi’s UP gives them TRPs, Media anchors also shed tears on Hathras, but don’t care about other daughters of India.

In the last three years, Yogi has capacitated the UP police force by filling 1.3 lacs vacant positions, dreaded criminals who were out in open in previous regimes are now in Jail. Illegally grabbed properties by the likes of Mukhtar Ansari, Atique Ahmed and Vikas Dubey are either seized or demolished. Romeo squads are trying their best to provide a safe atmosphere in UP. Special Investigation Teams (SITs) were formed in all serious cases and reports sought with tight timelines. Police staff is being suspended where ever laxity is found.

The industry is coming back to UP, as they find their money and employees safe in UP now. Despite all of this, Yogi continues to be the politician, which media love to hate and scrutinize dis-proportionately. First, it was Lal Krishna Advani, then it became Narendra Modi and now media has moved on to Yogi Adityanath as their favourite hate target.

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Shantanu Gupta
Author. Biographer of Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, titled The Monk Who Became Chief Minister. Founder of youth based organization Yuva Foundation.

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