Monday, 4 July, 2022
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Chandrayaan-2 landing, Modi 2.0’s 100 days in office and Ram Jethmalani rule headlines

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Newspapers today don’t agree on their choice of lead reports but they have one thing in common: Kashmir is not the lead story in the mainstream press.

The Indian Express runs Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Rohtak, Haryana as its lead, the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 mission locating the Vikram-lander makes for The Times of India and Hindustan Times’ leads and The Hindu highlights US President Donald Trump has called off “secret talks” with the Taliban.

Chandrayaan-2: “Chandrayaan-2 lander spotted, but no link yet”, writes HT. It quotes ISRO chairman K Sivan saying that orbiter of the Chandrayaan-2 mission “has located Vikram, its lander that lost communication with” the ISRO’s control centre “a day earlier, but there is no link yet.”

Sivan said that “the lunar orbiter, going around the moon at an altitude of 100 km, took a thermal image of the lander on the moon’s surface and that ISRO was trying to re-establish communication with it,” says HT.

TOI notes that it must have been a “hard-landing”, which means the lander that “was supposed to make a soft landing on the moon, has effectively crashed.”

PM Modi’s speech: Express lead is, “In 100-day message, PM cites ‘big change’ in J&K, invokes ‘ISRO spirit,” HT’s second choice of lead says, “In 100 days, Modi 2.0 sees continuity, but with twist.” HT says that “hundred days after taking office for the second time,” PM Modi has “outlined” his government’s “list of achievements” and “laid out its priorities for the rest of the term.” It adds that “the first 100 days have been marked by patterns of continuity from the first term, but also, a radical rupture on many fronts.”

“Terming the 130 crore people of India as the ‘inspiration’ behind the major decisions taken during the first 100 days,” PM Modi “said that work had started towards fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh,” writes Express. It notes that “Modi also made a mention of India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-2.”

Trump cancels talks with Taliban: Hindu’s choice of lead is President Trump’s statement – that “he has cancelled a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the President of Afghanistan, and was calling off months-long negotiations that had appeared to be nearing a peace agreement.” In a series of tweets President Trump said that “‘in order to build false leverage’, the Taliban had admitted to a suicide car bomb that killed a US soldier and 11 others in Kabul. `I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,’ he said.”

Meanwhile, TOI says “it is not clear why Trump thought the Taliban, which is birthed, nurtured and patronised by Pakistan, would stop its terrorist attacks since it has never ceased such depredations during the length of its negotiations with the US.”

HT’s choice of lead on one of its flaps is an exclusive. The Intelligence Bureau “has alerted the government about deployment of additional Pakistani troopers along the border near Rajasthan and said Islamabad has released Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks.”

Hindu mentions Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance that the Centre wouldn’t touch Article 371 that grants special provisions to the northeastern states.

Jethmalani: Express and TOI carry tributes to veteran lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani who died Sunday. “Bhishma Pitamah of Indian law is no more,” says TOI. His death “brought the curtain down on a career that recorded and analysed almost all significant developments in Indian criminal jurisprudence since Independence,” writes TOI. Express remembers him as, “working to his own brief, the lawyer who held court for 70 years.”

The big kiss: In a rare development, The Guardian reports that Brazil’s biggest newspaper “has printed an illustration from a Marvel comic of two men kissing on its front page to attack an attempt at censorship by the evangelical mayor of Rio de Janeiro.” The mayor, Marcelo Crivella, “attempted to ban copies of the graphic novel Avengers: the Children’s Crusade from appearing at a book fair on the grounds that it included content unsuitable for children.”

Opinion

The Hindu: In ‘So close, yet so far’, The Hindu maintains that Chandrayaan-2 was a success, having achieved 90-95 per cent of its objectives. The mission’s Vikram lander was unable to touch down on the Moon despite being 2km from the surface, but it is “apt to remember that ISRO was attempting powered landing for the first time”. There have been 38 attempts so far by other countries, writes the newspaper, with only China’s Yutu-2 rover being successful. Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter will spend approximately the next seven years, mapping the lunar surface for minerals and more importantly, reconfirm the presence of water on the Moon, explains The Hindu. NASA will be “keen” on this data as it plans to send astronauts to the Moon’s South Pole by 2024.

HT: In a review of a 100 days of Prime Minister Modi second term (‘Evaluating PM Modi 2.0’), it identifies an increased “pace of its [Modi government’s] decision-making on core ideological issues” and “internal security”. HT cites a few examples — the move on Article 370, the announcement of a chief of defence staff to usher in “structural defence reforms” and empowering internal investigative agencies to “add muscle to State power”. The Modi government has also made strides in terms of welfare and environmental schemes pertaining to housing, water conservation, reducing single-use plastic, etc. It is yet to address the economic slowdown and demand slump with “greater focus and political direction”. It also needs to win the trust of minorities and push for inter-religious harmony, writes HT, but this applies not only to PM Modi but the BJP at large.

Prime Time

Sundays provide variety at prime time and this one was no different. While Hindi news channels like Zee News, India TV and Republic Bharat peered across the border and saw infiltration at the Line of Control as well as trouble for Pakistan in PoK, channels like CNN News 18 and ET Now assessed the first 100 days of Modi 2.0.

Still others covered Chandrayaan-2, Ram Jethmalani’s death, and the flood-like situation in Madhya Pradesh.

On Republic TV, the dual arrests of Congress leaders P. Chidambaram and D.K. Shivakumar last week, still interested anchor Arnab Goswami who asked, “Is an all-out cleanse making some people uncomfortable?”

NDTV 24×7: Anchor Ankita Mukherjee, on ‘Left, Right, and Centre’ discussed Chandrayaan-2.

Delhi Science Forum’s D. Raghunandan said, “The fact that some parts of the lander have been located shouldn’t be a surprise. Even if it has crashed, it won’t evaporate and disappear.”

He added, “We should wait for the optical images.”

NASA’s Alok Chatterjee said, “The thermal image is like any other. But it can’t really tell you if the lander is alive or not. ISRO needs to keep trying to contact the body for at least another 10-12 days.”

Scientist Madan Lal added that it was “More important to understand if the lander is in one piece or multiple. If the antenna is in the direction of the moon, establishing contact will be difficult.”

Times Now: On ‘Frankly Speaking’, anchor Navika Kumar interviewed Vinod Rai, current head of the COA and former IAS officer. She asked him about the abrogation of Article 370.

“The brute majority gives power to political parties to road-roll their agenda,’’ said Kumar. “Does this make our institutions stronger?’’

Rai strongly supported the government’s moves: “I think it went through an entire process. We can’t fault the government on how (Article) 370 was handled.”

He added, “The precautionary steps were good, in the interest of the people of Kashmir.”

Aaj Tak: Modi Government’s 100 days and the Opposition’s inability to raise strong questions were discussed on `Halla Bol’.

BJP’s spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said with a sneer, “The Opposition is of no value. Our government has to play the role of Opposition as well.”

Communist Party of India’s Dinesh Varshney attacked the BJP on the economy: “(It) is not releasing accurate GDP data. If they [BJP] include the unorganised sector and agriculture, the GDP will be much lower than five per cent.”

Lok Janshakti Party’s Arvind Bajpai singled out Article 370 as one of the major achievements of the Modi government.

India TV: On Kurukshetra, anchor Pankaj Bhargava discussed PoK after protests reportedly erupted against Pakistan’s Army.

Karachi’s former mayor Arif Ajakiya admitted that atrocities had been committed against residents of PoK. He compared the condition of PoK to China’s Xinjiang concentration camps. “In Kashmir, people at least get electricity and water, here in PoK people are not even being provided the basic facilities.”

BJP’s Zafar Islam said the entire world was watching “the way in which the Pakistani government and army are carrying out their acts of brutality against the people of PoK.”

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