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English prime time news misses out on red sea of farmers in Delhi

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Farmers come knocking at Delhi Durbar: “In sea of red, farmers seek green shoots”, reads a headline in The Indian Express for reports on the massive ‘Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh’ rally in the national capital Wednesday.

Organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India Kisan Sabha, and All India Agriculture Workers Union, farmers from different states like Kerala, Punjab and Haryana participated in the rally, with demands ranging from higher prices for crops to loan waivers, from the implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan committee report to issues of land ownership and reforms.

The front page of The Indian Express carried a photograph of the countless participants with red flags.

The growing agrarian crisis has been a challenging issue for the current government. Previously, in March 2018, about 35,000 farmers marched to Mumbai to seek a loan waiver, among other demands.

The Hindu and Hindustan Times covered the protests on their front pages. While The Hindu headline read, “Farmers, workers create red tide in Delhi”, Hindustan Times’ stated, “Farmers’ anger reaches capital”.

Both the papers listed the demands of the thousands of farmers who marched on the national capital and protested against the “anti-people policies of the government”.

Surprisingly — or maybe, not so surprisingly —  The Times of India had no coverage of the march at all on its front page. Not one story, no photo, not even a small brief.

No TV channel covered it in their prime time bulletins either. Not Times Now, not Republic TV, nor Zee News, channels who claim to be devoted to saving the nationalist fibre. Not NDTV English or CNN News 18 either.

It was as if the rally didn’t happen for these channels.

So much for farmers rights.

Several comments on Twitter had a variety of views but few questioned the apparent ‘redness’ of the protests.

 

https://twitter.com/BaitaliG/status/1037387178353995776

 

 

The long wait for freedom! A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will issue its much-awaited verdict on decriminalising homosexuality Thursday, reported The Times of India.

With all eyes on the apex court, there is hope for a new age in personal liberty, rights and privacy. While reserving its verdict in the case on 17 July, the bench had rejected the arguments of those who cited the “opposition of the majority” to protest against the decriminalisation of gay sex.

“We decide questions of law on the basis of the Constitution, constitutional principles and its ethos and not based on a referendum,” the bench had said.

 

NSA under fire: National security adviser Ajit Doval is courting controversy over his remarks that a separate constitution for Jammu & Kashmir was an “aberration” and “unnecessary” when the Instrument of Accession was already in place, reports The Times of India.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the BJP’s former ally, criticised Doval for his “unwarranted remarks” and said they betrayed a lack of sensitivity towards the people of Kashmir, especially when the “Valley is in deep political turmoil”.  

Now, a ‘Surgical Strike Day’! The Centre has decided to celebrate 28 September, the anniversary of the 2016 operation against PoK terror launch pads, as ‘Surgical Strike Day’, reports Hindustan Times.

Business class

ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, facing conflict-of-interest charges, has denied the charges levelled at her by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, reports Business Standard. In her reply to SEBI, she has said she was “unaware” of the dealings between her husband Deepak Kochhar, promoter of NuPower Renewables, and the Videocon group.

Point of view

Dalits have the right to call themselves what they want, Dalit scholar Suraj Yengde argues. The I&B ministry’s advisory that the term Dalit be replaced with “scheduled caste” in media discussions is “a bureaucratic normalisation. It has no capacity to change the structures of oppression”, he writes in The Indian Express.

The 2+2 dialogue between the US and India, The Times of India writes in an editorial, “is proof that India-US relations have come a long way since the Cold War era, when it was marked by suspicion and hostility”.

Prime Time

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Section 377, the archaic law was unsurprisingly the most popular topic on prime time television news.

On NDTV, as a debate began on whether the section was justified, Vishnu Som said being straight or gay was a “biological” phenomenon. “No one wakes up in the morning to decide they are gay,” he said, taunting Father Stanley, a panelist, who later said, “The church is here to stand for human rights. The church will not discriminate.”

Meanwhile, on Republic TV, Laxmi Tripathi used the Manusmriti to defend homosexuality. So wonderful was her religion, she said, that she could be critical of some aspects and still appreciate that it was “hygienic and scientific” in its approach to sexuality.

Good thing the Constitution rules the courts, and nothing else.

Article 35A and Farooq Abdullah’s boycott of the J&K local body and panchayat polls were scarcely discussed on prime time news, save for Republic TV and Aaj Tak.

Republic TV, of course, conflated Abdullah’s decision with that of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, beginning its segment by saying that “Farooq Abdullah has made Hafiz Saeed proud”, and that he is speaking “Saeed’s language”.

News it’s just cool to know

Researchers from the UK’s Swansea University can turn your plastic garbage into hydrogen fuel, which can run cars. What’s even better is that it has the potential to be cheaper than recycling, since any kind of plastic can be used. “Light-absorbing material is added to the plastic before it is placed in an alkaline solution and then exposed to sunlight, which creates hydrogen”, PTI reports. The bad news? An industrial rollout may still be years away.

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