Bangalore: After demonizing Muslims and the Tableeghi Jamaat for Covid-19 spread in India, the TRP hunger media has found its prey in poor Bihari Migrants.
It started when a 54-year-old migrant worker (P419) was tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. A day later, nine of his primary contacts, all living in the same lane, were confirmed for Covid-19 and, Friday saw about a dozen people from the lane testing positive.
The Migrant worker who had come from Bihar wasn’t aware of the symptoms and had mingled with his co-workers. As his primary contacts were confirmed to be infected with Covid-19, Electronic media started to flash their headlines with Bihari Corona Bomb.
Kannada Prabha, a vernacular Kannada daily and Suvarna News Kannada Owned by MP Mr. Rajiv Chandrasekar carried a news report saying ‘Bihari Bombs Corona in Hongasandra’ (Hongasandrakke bomb itta Bihari). The report was presented as if the migrant worker had intentionally spread the virus.
TV9, Public TV, and Digvijaya News also carried similar headlines.
Media started to share unconfirmed rumour and used hyperbolic language to generate fear of immigrants. The demonizing of Bihari migrants was carried out in a similar pattern of Tableegh Jamaat.
Spitting on Volunteers :
TV9 carried out an unconfirmed news that ‘Biharis in quarantine are spitting at volunteers and health workers’. Earlier similar fake news was spread liking to Tableeghi jamaat which later turned out to be fake news.
Hifi Demand in Quarantine Centre:
The request of quarantined people for food and water became “Hi Fi demand” too.
TV9 and Kannada ran an episode Titled ‘BBMP Officials Shock On Bihari’s Hi Fi Demands At Quarantine Centre In Hongasandra’
BBMP Officials Shock On Bihari's Hi Fi Demands At Quarantine Centre In Hongasandra
— TV9 Kannada (@tv9kannada) April 28, 2020
The continuous hatred spread against migrants has resulted in people seeing them in suspicion.
Some people wanted to kick Biharis out of Karnataka
One twitter user even wrote to shoot them
Kick them out of Karnataka. Better they need real treatment from police & not at hospital. They came here for livelihood & Our state not going to benefit in anyway from them, they are real burden & threat to this state now & also later. They are just utilising the situation.
— YoG! / ಯೋಗಿ 🙈🙉🙊 (@uwithyogi) April 28, 2020
Just shoot him
— ಸುನಿಲ್ ಮಾಪಾ🇮🇳 (@sunilMoniL) April 26, 2020
The Kannada Media talks about people “transmitting COVID-19,” “infecting others,” or “spreading the virus” as it implies intentional transmission and assigns blame. Criminalizing or dehumanizing terminology creates the impression that those with the disease have somehow done something wrong or are less human than the rest of us, feeding stigma, undermining empathy, and potentially fueling wider reluctance to seek treatment or attend the screening, testing and quarantine
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization had warned against any racial profiling of coronavirus patients by the governments across the world.
“Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim. It is very important that we do not profile the cases on the basis of racial, religious and ethnic lines,” WHO’s emergency programme director Mike Ryan had said.