Even as India’s media has descended upon the borders of Delhi to bring the voices of the protesting farmers to the world, they aren’t being quite accorded the same respect by the protesting farmers.
India Today anchor Preeti Choudhry has alleged that women journalists are being sexually harassed by farmers at Delhi’s borders. “Our farmers have already etched themselves in world history..but they would be doing themselves the biggest disfavour by letting a sizeable chunk of depraves to sexually harass reporters,” she wrote on Twitter. She indicated that these incidents weren’t one-offs, but formed a pattern. “Our own team has enough incidents to report ..those in solidarity need to call this out too!” she continued.
Tens of thousands of farmers are currently camped on the outskirts of Delhi, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws passed by the Indian government. The media has been heavily covering these protests with reporters — many of whom are women — spending large amounts of time as the protest sites.
Preeti Choudhry also detailed the nature of the harassment in a subsequent tweet. Bhupender Choudhary, a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and a self-described “Proud Congressi” had replied to her tweet, saying that while her allegations were true, but “bite-hungry” journalists should also be investigated. “Don’t want to give a ‘bite’, don’t give it .. but refrain from pinching her bottom..Amazing that we choose to hide behind whataboutery,” she replied, hinting that women reporters have had their bottoms pinched at the protests.
Preeti Choudhry’s allegations would add a whole new dimension to the ongoing stir — all this while, the media has been portraying farmers as righteous crusaders who’re bravely fighting for their rights, with scant regard for comforts and personal safety. But with many farmers allegedly also sexually harassing women journalists and pinching their bottoms, one would realize the the “annadata” at Delhi might have more than just “anna” on his mind while at the protests.