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India Today is self-congratulatory on JNU ‘Confession Tapes’, HT praises Gen. Naravane  

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Mainstream newspapers Monday cover Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the Citizenship Amendment Act in Kolkata. It is the lead in The Hindu and The Times of India and the second lead in Hindustan Times and The Indian Express.

Express leads with two reports on DSP Davinder Singh who was apprehended by the Jammu and Kashmir police Saturday along with two militants from the Hizbul Mujahideen.

HT has an exclusive report stating that the number of protests in Delhi was the highest in 2019, up nearly by 50 per cent from 2018.. Express carries an exclusive report on the impact of the CAA protests on the economy.

Modi on CAA: “CAA meant to give citizenship, not take it away, says Modi” reads Hindu’s headline. It adds, “Modi accused those opposing the amended law of ‘playing political games’ and ‘fuelling misconception among the youth’”. TOI, on the other hand, brings in Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement as well: “CAA has exposed Pak: PM; jail for anti-national slogans: Shah”. HT, too, focuses on Modi’s comments on Pakistan with “CAA row brought Pakistan minorities in focus: PM Modi”. Express notes, “PM on CAA: Pak will now have to answer for oppressing minorities”. In its strap it adds that the Ramakrishna Mission where he spoke, refused to comment on Modi’s speech at their headquarters in Belur Math, saying, “Won’t comment, we are apolitical, inclusive”.

DSP Davinder Singh: Express writes, “Decorated J&K cop with anti-hijack unit held with militants” adding the IGP’s statement from the press conference where they called it a “heinous crime” and that they are “treating him like a militant”. An accompanying report reveals the DSP’s “alleged” links to Afzal Guru and the 2001 Parliament attack. Afzal had accused Singh of asking him to take Mohammad, “one of those who carried out the Parliament attack”, to Delhi.

Meanwhile, Hindu is speculative, “J&K officer may have been ferrying Hizb ultras to Delhi”. HT also reports the police’s statement saying that they are treating the DSP like any other militant. TOI, oddly, does not cover the story on their front page.

Protests in Delhi in 2019: In an exclusive report, HT reports “Protests in Capital hit a new high in 2019” and names Delhi’s key protests in 2019 in a tabular format in chronological order. The report adds that “figures from Delhi Police show 12,652 demonstrations, dharnas and protest meetings were organised in 2019, a spike of 46% from the 2018 numbers.”

Protests’ effect on economy: Express reports, “From cars to watches, protests hit India Inc: Decline in customers visiting showroom”. It writes that car manufacturing companies, watchmakers stated that December saw a decline in footfall largely because of shops being forced shut due to protests.


Hindustan TimesIn “Starting on the right note”, HT writes that newly appointed Army chief General M.M. Naravane’s briefing Saturday is particularly significant in the current political context.

According to HT, Naravane’s “firm and unequivocal commitment to the constitution” stood out in the address amidst the deeply polarised political scenario. His comments are a reminder of the broad principles that govern the Indian Army, it writes.

Naravane also talked about the challenging security situations that both China and Pakistan pose and emphasised the need to increase preparations across the northern border with China. He came across as a “clear, articulate thinker, committed to the constitution and also focused on the need to keep an eye on evolving security challenges”, it concludes.

The Hindu: The newly released National Crime Records Bureau 2018 report suggests that crime records are only as good as their reporting, writes Hindu.

In “Matter of interpretation”, Hindu writes that better reporting and subsequent follow-up could be a way to explain the varied crime statistics across states. Delhi and Kerala have the highest crime rates in the country — 1463.2 per one lakh population and 1342.5, respectively. At the same time, Jharkhand (4.6 murders per one lakh population, the highest in the country) and Haryana (3.9) among others have an egregious murder rate.

It concludes that these statistics are a reflection of the fact that crime reporting, follow-up and subsequent steps in trial and punishment are much better undertaken in some states and union territories.

Prime Time

News channels widely covered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kolkata over the weekend, with NDTV 24×7 featuring his speech, in which he attacked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly cutting central government welfare schemes because of a lack of opportunity to swindle funds.

They also covered All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev’s press conference on JNU, where she demanded that the JNU VC be dismissed immediately.

India Today reported that JNUSU was asking students not to register for the winter semester, claiming the administration had blocked payment in order to enforce the hiked hostel fees. It also reported that 18 students from the university had made it to the Indian Economic Service. In India TV’s ‘Aap Ki Adalat’, anchor Rajat Sharma was in conversation with Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, who claimed that the CAA doesn’t deter people from applying for Indian citizenship. In a ground report from Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit, ABP News reported that the village’s residents believe that the CAA’s promises will make their life better.

Times Now:  In ‘The Newshour’ debate, Athar Khan discussed Modi’s reassurances regarding the CAA in Kolkata and asked his panel, “Do you buy the PM’s argument that those people on the street are pawns of a political misinformation campaign and don’t know enough about CAA?”

Political analyst Nishant Varma said, “Dear PM, this country is smart enough, they voted you in”, adding that if large swathes of lawyers, doctors, students, housewives, and even unemployed folk were out on the streets protesting, there was obviously a “big question mark” about the new law.

BJP spokesperson Charu Pragya responded by saying that the PM, Home Minister and other BJP leaders had repeatedly made it clear that the CAA was about “giving the gift of citizenship” rather than taking citizenship. “Building castles in the air, you prefer to distrust your leadership, you prefer the distrust the leader of your nation and continue to protest because it serves your political motives”, he said.

India TodayThe channel said that they had sent the ‘JNU confession tapes’ to the police, which are now part of the official probe looking into those behind the JNU attack. The tapes were part of an India Today report released earlier this week where ABVP leader Akshat Awasthi confessed on record, that ABVP was involved in the JNU attack. Awasthi was called in by the police, but failed to appear. The police also identified 44 people from the WhatsApp group “Unity against the Left” and are questioning a hostel warden and several guards in the matter.

Zee News:In a special edition of ‘Taal Thok Ke’, anchor Aditi Tyagi explains that PM Modi leveled a grave allegation against Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during his speech in Kolkata. Modi said that Banerjee doesn’t follow the central government’s policies because she doesn’t get a ‘cut’ or ‘commission’ out of it. Tyagi questioned whether the West Bengal elections, slated for next year, will be fought over “cut money”.

The anchor went on to wonder whether BJP’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ will outwit Mamata’s Bengal? Tyagi also asked whether Mamata Banerjee had forgotten her chief ministerial courtesies in her outrage against PM Modi.

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