Bhanwari was making stealthily videos of herself in compromising positions with ministers and other powerful figures to blackmail them. Investigators believe this is what led to her disappearance.
Mahipal Maderna, a minister who is seen with her in one of the videos that has surfaced, has had to resign. The whole affair, sleazy and scandalous as it is, did make for news.
P7, a Rajasthan news channel launched some six months ago, was perhaps the first to broadcast footage (on November 10) of Maderna and Bhanwari together. It is said to have paid a hefty amount to procure the footage.
Newspapers and magazines did not lag behind. They presented the affair in graphic detail, steamy headlines and all, making up for what they could not do in print by uploading the videos on their websites. No one waited for the opinion of forensic experts, who are yet to authenticate the footage. Instead of portraying it to evoke anger against the decay of morals and ethos, they cared only about the political aspect. They were voyeurs, violating all norms of dignity. The coverage initially portrayed Bhanwari as a victim; later, she was branded a blackmailer.