File image of K.L. Rahul at the ICC Cricket World Cup | ANIPix
File image of K.L. Rahul at the ICC Cricket World Cup | ANIPix
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Front page

Before we get to the news, some unusual features in this morning’s editions: Hindustan Times’s front page and its flap are tinged blue for no discernible reason— could it be in support of India who take on New Zealand at the cricket World Cup today?

Times of India, meanwhile, is in a real flap – it has not one but two front page flaps before you get to the real page 1. Advertisements and the day’s biggest stories compete for space across these pages.

And, on the subject of cricket, the ‘fill-in-the blanks’ prize goes to The Indian Express Sports page headline, ‘KL for Shikhar; ______ for Rahul’. The story debates options India has to replace KL Rahul at No. 4 in the team.

The newspapers disagree on their top story of the day.

For HT, its “5 CRPF jawans killed in Anantnag terror attack” — other papers give that second billing even though it is “the first major terrorist strike since the killing of 40 soldiers by a suicide bomber in Pulwama” on 14 February this year.

HT reports that militants were on a motorcycle this time, and used guns to kill the CRPF personnel. The daily called it “an audacious daylight attack” on “one of the busiest roads in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town”. The town’s SHO, a civilian woman, and three other CRPF personnel were injured in the crossfire.

TOI’s report says “A Pakistani terrorist was also killed as CRPF and police personnel retaliated”, and a “lesser-known terror outfit” called Al Umar Mujahedee has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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“However, police believe that Jaish-e-Muhammad, which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama strike in which 40 CRPF men were killed, is behind the attack.”

Express in its second lead, writes in ‘Explained’ that the incident will “likely hang over the Bishkek summit, which Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan will attend”. It notes the attack comes “days after Modi called for a global coalition against terror”.

Speaking of, the Express also carries a slim column report with the headline “PM skips Pak airspace flying to summit, meeting with Xi today”.

UP Bar council chief

“Soon after this photo, UP Bar Council chief killed by lawyer in Agra court” is the Express lead. Darvesh Yadav was the first woman to be elected to the council as chairperson and was shot three times by a fellow lawyer, who “stood up and fired thrice at Ms. Yadav with his licensed pistol. He then turned the gun on himself” (The Hindu).

TOI, which gives the news column space on one of its flaps, says he “had close ties with Darvesh for over a decade”.

Chandrayaan, Easter attacks, and more

“Chandrayaan-2 set to be launched on July 15” is the top story TOI’s main front page, but other newspapers carry it inside.

“India’s second mission to the moon — Chandrayaan-2 — will be launched at 2.51am on July 15”, it reports.

The Hindu’s lead is, “Coimbatore man held for ties with Easter attack mastermind”, surprisingly, this finds no echo on Page 1 of the newspapers.

The prime suspect, according to NIA, was found “propagating the ideology of proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu”, says Hindu.

HT carries an exclusive– “India unlikely to resume Iran oil import, may talk losses with US” — and finds that it “is impacting energy security because India hasn’t been able to find an alternative source that matches the quality, quantity and lucrative commercial terms of Iranian crude”.

Cyclone Vayu, meanwhile, has slipped off the front pages entirely, except for the Hindu, which reports, “Cyclone Vayu to be very severe: IMD”.

On Thursday, however, the cyclone was reported to have changed course. It is now not expected to make landfall in Gujarat.

Opinion

Business Standard, today, weighs in on the GDP growth “overestimation” debate sparked by former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian’s piece in Express on 11 June.

In “A reality check”, it describes Subramanian’s findings that GDP was actually 4.5 per cent, on an average, between 2011-12 and 2016-17 and not 7 per cent, and points out that his research is based neither on data from the “back series” released by the Niti Aayog or “the revision of the news series”. It says Subramanian felt both of these would lead to only further overestimation of growth. Also, the years affected cover both NDA and UPA governments — “so it is unfair to impute political motives to the research”.

BS says the GDP growth rate “is not the point”. What’s important is that “official GDP growth numbers are out of line with independent economic variables like exports and freight movement”. This has serious implications for “both investors and policy makers and should no longer be denied”, it adds.

The paper advises an “independent re-examination of the methodology and results being used for official statistics…”

Prime Time

Another journalist’s alleged ordeal in Uttar Pradesh when he was assaulted by Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel, BJP protests on the streets of Kolkata, and Rishabh Pant flying out to join the Indian cricket team, led the TV news cycle Wednesday.

CNN News 18 anchor Neha Pant, however, discussed the Modi government’s “madarasa plan” to boost education for Muslims. Pant asked whether Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was trying to distract the audience from the plan by remarks on Godse?

Azam Khan had earlier said, “Humare madarson mein Godse ki fitrat nhi sikhai jaati (Our madarsas don’t teach Godse’s nature.)”

Surprisingly, a Congress leader surfaced on TV — the party had decided to avoid TV debates for a month after the Lok Sabha results.

Congressman Hanumant Ray said Khan said is right that “Jai Shree Ram’’ and the ideology of Nathuram Godse—who killed Mahatma Gandhi—should not be taught in madarasas

However, BJP spokesperson Shanawaz Hussain said people like Khan “madarson ko badnaam karte hai (defame madarasas)”.

NDTV 24×7 anchor Sanket Upadhyay discussed Bengal. “Both TMC and BJP have engaged in violence spreading and should be blamed for the unrest in the state.”

BJP leader Lalita Kumaramangalam labelled Mamata Banerjee “childish” for broadening the rift between state government and the Centre. “She is the Chief Minister of the state for which she has fought for the most part of her political life, in order to dethrone the Left. She should take a step back because she is only losing ground”, was Kumaramangalam’s advice.

Political analyst Anirban Banerjee’s thoughts were with the citizens: “Due to the violence, it’s the common man that has suffered, but if BJP continues to preach the politics that it does then everyone will suffer.”

Agreeing with Banerjee, journalist Arati Jerath said the confrontation was restricted to politics but warned that if BJP continued to take “dubious members of TMC” into the party, then “this violence will spread as state itself has record of hate politics”.

India Today: Anchor Rajdeep Sardesai brought up the controversy on India’s GDP rate after Arvind Subramanian’s claims of “overestimation” in a working paper.

Economist Surjit Bhalla warned that the “methods used by Arvind Subramanian have never been used anywhere in the world to monitor GDP growth”.

Economist Arun Kumar suggested that “India’s economy is very different from rest of the world” and therefore different yardsticks maybe apply.

Sardesai ended the debate with an alarming question: “…has the government been making all its policies on wrong numbers?”

Zee News: Anchor Sudhir Chaudhary wanted viewers to be happy. As a result of “negativity”, the audience wasn’t accustomed to good news. He had some to share, though: ISRO would launch Chandrayaan 2 on 15 July.

Tweet of the day

With inputs from Shailaja Bajpai, Harshit Mansukhani, and Triya Gulati.

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