At first glance, the video of a TV reporter standing with two watermelons and sharp objects before him might make you think he's going to demonstrate a simple method to slice watermelons in the summer. Or make fruit salad. But that would be doing grave injustice - what you are about to witness is a recreated crime scene, with the watermelons standing in for the victim's head, no less.
It was only last month that social media had a field day trolling a TV9 reporter who appeared in army fatigues inside his news studio in Hyderabad to "celebrate" the Balakot air strikes. While the audience was clearly unimpressed with the reporterâ€™s display of jingoism on a news channel, bringing the bar even lower is another reporter from Mojo TV, a Telugu news channel, who used two watermelons on his show on Wednesday to explain an alleged murder case.
Devising a hypothesis on the YS Vivekananda Reddy murder case, which made headlines last week, the reporter has two watermelons on his table along with a sickle, an axe with a curved edge and another with a plain edge. Letting his imagination run wild, the reporter says the watermelons are substitutes for Vivekanandaâ€™s head, since the deceased had sustained major head injuries which led to his death.
Calling the show an exclusive demonstration, the reporter picks up the weapons, one by one, and makes cuts on the watermelons, describing how each weapon could have injured the deceased in different ways. Since the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had found that a sickle was used to kill Vivekananda, the reporter first makes a move with the same weapon. He points the weapon towards the camera and warns the audience that it is a very sharp tool.
If the entire show isnâ€™t already bizarre, the reporter makes it even more appalling by describing how a sickle, if used, would have split the deceasedâ€™s head into two equal halves.
â€śBut since that isnâ€™t the case, it must have not been a sickle, so then what would've happened? As Jaganmohan Reddy says and several others speculate there's a chance he could've been hacked with an axe,â€ť he claims.
The reporter then calls another man into the show and gives a live demonstration on his head, drawing lines and pointing at spots where Vivekananda Reddy was reportedly said to have been injured.
He then picks up the two axes, explains the obvious difference of impact between the two, before demonstrating them on the second watermelon.
â€śEven though we haven't witnessed the incident, based on the injury marks, we can conclude that he was attacked with an axe. But the SIT contradicts this and this is where the suspicion arises,â€ť says the reporter, supposedly "debunking" the SITâ€™s theory behind the murder, simply with the help of two watermelons.
Vivekananda Reddy, a former MP was murdered on March 15. While initially it was believed that the politician suffered a cardiac arrest and succumbed, the police confirmed after investigation that the two-time MP was murdered. Vivekananda had injury marks on his head, hands and back.
Many on social media have called out the channel's insensitivity in reducing the complexity of a politicianâ€™s murder case to something as trivial as chopping up two watermelons. While people are calling it the lowest point in Telugu journalism, some others have also tagged the Hyderabad police on Twitter, demanding that the content be immediately removed.
A telugu news channel using two watermelons to represent the head, to explain the injuries found on former MP Vivekananda Reddy who was found murdered last week. Are we becoming increasingly insensitive? pic.twitter.com/mginOE4SXxâ€” Paul Oommen (@Paul_Oommen) March 20, 2019
Only a year ago, Telugu channel TV9 had faced heat after a reporter morphed pictures of actor Sridevi's death and also jumped into a bathtub to "prove" that there was more to her sudden demise. People had condemned the channelâ€™s theatrics then too, but Telugu media still seems keen to dramatise events in a shameful bid to grab eyeballs.