Ayodhya: How just a few thousand Shiv Sena-VHP men turned into 'lakhs' in newspapers, on TV channels?
LUCKNOW: The Shiv Sena-Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) show of strength for Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya, fizzled out.
Despite nationwide call, the appeals of saints and round the clock coverage on TV channels, it was not a huge gathering.
Just a few thousands turned up at Ayodhya. However, channels and newspapers kept the spotlight on the event.
Local Hindi newspapers suggested that a 'huge gathering' was supposed to take place. People clad in Saffron, chanting slogans were interviewed on way to Ayodhya and it was suggested that lakhs were arriving from all over the country.
On TV screens, the nonstop coverage led to fears that there may be tension. As a result, Muslims in Ayodhya left the town. Many sent their family members to relatives' places in neighbouring cities and adjoining towns.
Just like it happened in the eighties and later in 1992, tempers soared. There were apprehensions of violence. However, the strength was nowhere close to lakhs. It was just a few thousands--ranging from 10,000 to 15,000.
Channels in search of TRP, kept on holding discussions on the sensitive issue and inflammatory speeches-statements were aired. All apparently for TRP or just to compete and outdo the other channel. In the end, everyone heaved a sigh of relief when this turned into a damp squib.
Once again, 'national media' hurts its credibility because of the frenzy it helped, create. The newspapers in Uttar Pradesh were instrumental in creating a wave in favour of right-wing extremism in the decades of 1980s and 1990s. And it has happened once again.