Hindi news channels ignore Kollam tragedy

On Sunday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, one switches on television news—and gets shocked. As many as 86 people were killed and many more injured after a fire broke out at the Paravur Puttingal Devi temple near Kollam around 3:30 a.m. This was TimesNow. Other English news channels, except India Today, were also focused on the disaster, reporting from ground-zero, getting comments, etc.

Surfing channels, one realizes that for Hindi channels it was business as usual. So, the comedian Raju Srivastava was entertaining a bunch of journalists on ABP News, Shatrughn Sinha regaling Aap ki adalat on India TV, Randeep Hooda describing his journey in the world of cinema on NDTV. Other Hindi channels were also busy with their scheduled programmes: Aaj Tak and Live India hosting debates on the entry of women in certain temples; News24 doing a feature on Kamakhya temple; India 24X7 featuring India’s composite culture; and so on.

The same pattern has continued, more or less, till the writing of these lines—that is, when the fatalities have reportedly crossed the 100-mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached the place with a team of specialist doctors, and reactions are coming in from various quarters.