Thursday, 11 August, 2022
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All hail the chief but focus on Delhi violence — a day of contrasts on Page One

A round-up of the most important reports in major newspapers around the country – from TOI and HT, Express and The Hindu to The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror and The Tribune, as well as top financial dailies.

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US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi obviously take the cream of the headlines, with photographs of them hugging on nearly all front pages. Unfortunately, the coverage was marred by reports on Delhi burning as pro- and anti-CAA protestors clashed, resulting in the death of six people.

The Times of India devotes most of page 1 to the Trump visit and sidelines Delhi’s violence to the flap: “A wide swathe of Northeast Delhi — Jafrabad to Chand Bagh and Karawal Nagar — was wracked by communal riots and incidents of rampant vandalism on Monday as anti- and pro-CAA groups clashed for over seven hours”, it writes. 

There’s a stunning photograph of the gunman Mohammed Shahrukh alongside. Note the small item, “PFI among 3 outfits under intel scanner” that suggests the Muslim organisation is “fanning violence”.

Otherwise, it is all love and hugs as TOI celebrates the Modi and Trump bromance. The lead notes, “In a relationship-defining speech at a packed Motera Stadium on Monday, US President Donald Trump declared that his country would always be faithful and loyal to Indians.” 

The paper covers the POTUS and FLOTUS visit to the Taj Mahal and the Sabarmati Ashram. An interesting snippet reads: “US President was ‘impressed’ by the story of Shahjahan and Mumtaz, ‘but he felt bad that the emperor was imprisoned for eight years at the Agra Quila’.” 

And in “Love will be in the air”, guess who will be serenading the guests at tonight’s presidential banquet? Eric Clapton, Elton John and Rod Stewart with “Have I told you lately that I love you’’. Is this for Trump and Modi? 

A brief mention of a big MeToo win, “Harvey Weinstein convicted of rape’’ though he was cleared of the most serious “predatory sexual assault charges”.

The Indian Express disappoints with a straight and almost bland report about the ‘Namaste Trump’ event although it highlights the strategic importance of Trump’s speech — the references to “Islamic radical terrorism”, China, Pakistan and “true friend” Modi. However, there is no mention of Trump’s strained efforts to say “chaiwala”, “Sholay” or “Swami Vivekananda”. 

The communal clashes in Delhi is the other big story: there are  grim details of what occurred, “Several parts of northeast Delhi turned into a battlezone and violence spiralled over the new citizenship law” as “rival mobs, armed with sticks, rods and petrol bombs, torched vehicles, shops and homes”. Another page 1 story, “Day after BJP’s Mishra warning…” links the violence and BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s provocations a day earlier — “The area had been on edge since Sunday when a rally by BJP’s Kapil Mishra to counter anti-CAA protests in the area had been followed by waves of stone-pelting”. 

On a happier note, school’s have been opened in the conflict zone of Kashmir — “After 200 days, Valley wakes up to bustling classrooms’’,  there’s the sight of “school buses making their way through roads and classroom filling up with children”. This is the first time since Article 370 was revoked that “schools opened fully and reported near-full attendance,” the report notes. 

Hindustan Times divides its focus between the friendliness in the Trump-Modi relationship and the lawlessness in Delhi — the two photos say it all. The lead simply describes the effusive praise both leaders heaped on each other during the Ahmedabad visit where “the Indian side pulled out all the stops… in a rapturous welcome to the US President’’.

The paper is also interested in tonight’s Rashtrapati Bhavan banquet and the all important menu: apparently, “Salmon tikkas will give western twist to Indian banquet’’ and the menu will not be “heavy on Indian spices.’’

The second half of the paper reads as though it’s an alternate reality: in the report “Lawlessness, disorder as protesters run riot”, HT pits Hindus against Muslims: “Two groups, one opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and largely composed of Muslims, and another, supporting the new law and mostly made up of Hindus, both armed with guns, swords, stones, sticks, rods, and petrol bombs, clashed.”

And if you’re wondering about the no-show of Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, well he was busy attending the state assembly: “Delhi’s lawmakers take oath…’’

Unlike the other newspapers, The Hindu gives first place to Delhi’s violence with “Policeman among 5 killed…” 

The violence took a communal colour and spread to other parts of northeast Delhi as organised groups attacked each other, setting shops and vehicles on fire,” notes the report.

Its second report reveals that “now BJP’s Kapil Mishra appeals for peace’’, after setting a three day “deadline’’ for the Delhi police to clear protests in northeast Delhi, which led to the initial violence Sunday.

As for the US President, “Donald Trump … lavishes praise on Modi’’ reads its headline. The paper notes his reference to, “(Modi) from a humble background as a tea-seller to India’s Prime Minister ‘underscores India’s limitless promise’”. 

And in a landmark statement another Supreme Court after Justice Chandrachud speaks on dissent: “A dissenter is not an anti-national,” says the paper paraphrasing  Supreme Court Justice Deepak Gupta. It quotes him saying, “Majoritarianism is an antithesis to democracy.’’ 

The Telegraph is back with its powerful headlines — “The Real Beast’’ takes a dig at POTUS’ car and points to the real beast — communal violence in Delhi. The lead reads: “President Donald Trump landed in a Delhi whose peripheries smouldered with violent disorder on Monday.” 

The New Indian Express lead “Big ticket defense deals today..” infuses drama into Trump’s big reveal about the “defence deals” — “Addressing an adoring crowd of over one lakh people…Trump appeared to take everyone off-guard when he said: ‘I am pleased to announce that tomorrow our representatives will sign defence deals worth over $3 billion…” 

In an unusual report, ‘Shooters never had it so good before’, NIE says the Commonwealth Games Federation agreed to the hosting of the Commonwealth shooting and archery championships at Chandigarh in January 2022. 

Mumbai Mirror has no story on its front page, but features an image of the US President, the First Lady and PM Modi at Sabarmati ashram. The paper calls the visit a “big hit”. A small banner on top gives space to the violence that engulfed Delhi claiming the lives of a “head constable and 3 civilians”. 

The Tribune is quite colourful about Trump (“Will stop Islamic radicalism: US Prez”), it notes how his comments about China, “The nation that seeks to claim power through coercion”, wasn’t as appreciated as the remark about Islamic radicalism and India and US’ “ironclad resolve” to stand against it. 

Mint says it with headlines: “Vow & Wow for natural allies” states that even though there’s no trade deal on the agenda for Donald Trump’s visit, “India’s trade deal with the US is just a matter of time”. The piece notes that the “changing geopolitical landscape, coupled with closer ties with the US, makes a deal that benefits both nations inevitable”. 

The front page report perfectly described the US President during his Ahmedabad visit: “Donald Trump played the statesman, politician and marketer to perfection at the packed Motera stadium on Monday”. 

Today’s Business Standard is both the odd one out and a spoiler. It leads with the drop in benchmark indices because of the coronavirus outbreak. “With an increase in the number of cases outside China, market players said investors were worried over prolonged economic damage to the global economy,” the report notes. 

Read the anchor story about Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s visit to India (that has completely been overshadowed by POTUS) — “72% software jobs outside the tech industry: Nadella”. This was during a “fireside chat” with Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai. Nadella stressed that “the defining capability for companies would hinge on how they built their own technology”.  

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