Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal received unexpected competition on Page 1 today from the Jamia video war. PM Modi’s reaffirmation of his government’s intention to go ahead with the Citizenship Amendment Act despite international opprobrium took third billing. In financial news, Mint and The Economic Times look at Airtel and Vodafone’s deepening troubles. And Business Standard warns of falling supplies in mobile phones, pharma products due to coronavirus.
It’s a newsy front page on The Times of India, with newly-elected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s speech at his new government’s swearing-in Sunday. The report simply quotes different sections of the AAP chief’s speech, emphasising Delhi giving birth to “new kind of politics” and also defended the party’s freebies, “Everything precious… is free”.
Its second lead is on the “three videos”, allegedly from the violence in Jamia Millia on 15 December, which have triggered a fresh row. The report describes the content of the videos — one which shows police entering the Jamia library and hitting students with lathis, the others show students with stones. “Cops have taken copies of all three videos and have launched an inquiry”. It doesn’t identify that source of any of the videos.
TOI also notes that UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres’ offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir has “gone down badly with India”. And, bad news for protesters: despite the protests, the National Population Register update will begin on 1 April with President Kovind to be the first one to be “enrolled”.
Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has got into a “Twitter spat” with composer A.R. Rahman’s daughter after she lamented the latter choosing to wear a burqa. Caustic reply from Khatija: “… I’m sorry you feel suffocated by my attire. Please get some fresh air…’’.
The Indian Express’ headline on Kejriwal is markedly different from TOI’s and the report also takes another angle — his desire to work with PM Modi. It adds that he said he had forgiven his opponents for their remarks against him. Remember, BJP members called him a “terrorist”.
In comprehensive coverage, Express identifies the source of the Jamia videos — “The students’ organisation that is coordinating the protests…” against the CAA released one video. No clue yet where the other videos came from. In an accompanying report, it also spoke to two students who were inside the library that night and recalled events of the night.
Also read how five FIRs have been filed against IAS Prateek Hajela, who was, for several years, the face of Assam NRC. And check out the delightful anchor story on a “strong room that cannot be breached” inside a Rampur house with the squabbling Rampur royals waiting with “bated breath…. about what lies inside”.
A busy-looking Hindustan Times, Kejriwal’s “third innings” quotes his speech at length and in an accompanying piece says Modi and Kejriwal also traded “warm greetings” on Twitter.
On Jamia, HT only mentions the video released by the Jamia students on page 1, unlike TOI and Express, but inside it gives details and then says it cannot confirm the authenticity of any of the videos.
Some coronavirus good news: “All 654 people, who were quarantined at facilities in Delhi-NCR after their evacuation” from Wuhan in China have “tested negative” for the disease.
The National Conference is “willing” to participate in the panchayat by-elections next month is “certain conditions are met”, reports HT.
The Hindu leads are straightforward — one notes Modi’s comment that the government will “stand by decision” on Article 370 and CAA. In its Kejriwal story, it highlights that he “extends olive branch to Centre”.
Hindu, also, only reports the Jamia video of policemen beating up students but mentions that it is “purportedly” from 15 December. It says, “Jamia Millia Islamia said the video had not been released by the university.”
Shaheen Bagh protesters’ unsuccessful march to Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence gets a mention on Hindu’s front page — ignored by the other mainstream press.
Do check out the bizarre anchor piece on the “unmanageable troops” of “chicken-killing monkeys” in rural eastern Assam.
The Telegraph dedicates almost its entire page 1 to the Jamia video. Plenty of details and plenty of opinion too. It also notes, “On the day of videos, a reminder if we forgot: Police just cannot beat up people. Whichever way you look at the beating”. It gives a great deal of space to one of the students in the library, Mohammad Minhajuddin, who was beaten up and lost vision in his left eye as a consequence.
The New Indian Express gives prominence to PM Modi’s statement reasserting his government’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act and Article 370, alongside Arvind Kejriwal’s swearing-in . This differs from Express and HT as it emphasises the CM’s statement to take the AAP government’s development model national. The paper also focuses on the UN chief drawing flak from India after his offer to mediate on Kashmir. There’s only a small item on the CCTV video showing Delhi lathi-charge Jamia students in the library and another about the anti-CAA protests in Tamil Nadu.
In other news, Chennai has topped the list of noisiest metro cities as “average noise levels during the day is 67.8, much higher than Delhi”. Also, Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman and Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president K.T. Rama Rao have been at loggerheads over the word “give”, in lieu with the distribution of taxes among the states.
Mumbai Mirror leads with the story of an elderly Kurla couple whose daughter-in-law and three grandchildren have been stranded in a camp for the widows and children of Daesh fighters for the last two years. According to the report, Fatima and her three children were locked up in a section of the camp after her husband was killed by a shell. “She had no idea in which part of the world she was,” the report notes.
The Tribune has 12 stories on page 1. It also highlights the “widening footprint” angle in its report about Kejriwal — like NIE. Also, the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir said that it will contest in the panchayat polls next month on the condition that its leaders are set free. An interesting read is the anchor story about how Manmohan Singh had considered resigning back in 2013 when he was the Prime Minister and had even asked former Deputy Chairman of the defunct-Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia for his advice. According to Ahluwalia, Manmohan Singh had been “piqued” with Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the UPA government’s ordinance negating a Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers.
The Economic Times leads with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s assessment that their “adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues” are about half the amount that the government has demanded, a crucial detail which could “set the stage” for another dispute between the telecom companies and the centre. Also, the Income Tax department may come down heavily on the NRIs and question them on their overseas income that is often “bloated” to “to legitimise undisclosed funds stashed abroad”.
A report on small item on net sales of Indian companies in the third quarter, fails to highlight that it’s the biggest decline in more than five years. US President Donald Trump will meet India’s top business leaders during his visit to Delhi, according to the report on ET’s flap. “The probable list of attendees includes Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro chairman AM Naik and Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw” the paper notes quoting “diplomatic sources”.
Mint focuses on the gains from the drop in the crude oil prices for aviation, shipping, road and rail transportation. “Major oil importers such as India are seeking to drive a better bargain” especially after the world’s biggest importer, China remains impacted by the coronavirus epidemic.
The paper takes a different look at the Airtel and Vodafone’s dispute with the Centre as it notes instead that the telecom companies will have “to dip into its modest reserves and tap short-term loans to pay part of the ₹44,000 crore it owes the government”. There’s an important report about the “biggest decline in more than five years” in the net sales of the third quarter. The report quotes, Deepak Jasani, the head of retail research at HDFC Securities Ltd, who said that “Political and social unrest in some parts of the country also impacted the performance of India Inc”.
Business Standard brings grim news about how India “could run out of supplies in mobile phone, auto parts, insecticides and pharmaceuticals within a fortnight as the China shutdown intensifies”. Another cause for alarm is that there isn’t “enough times to arrange supplies from other countries. In other news, the merger between IDBI Bank and LIC Housing Finance may be expedited after the Bank “posts two consecutive quarters of operating profit”.
Also, the finance ministry is planning on easing rule for its “amnesty scheme” aimed at those involved in disputes. The Vivad se Vishwas scheme is being made more “accommodative for those declaring money involved in disputes and paying tax on them”, according to the Standard’s report. An eerie silence over the Airtel and Vodafone’s troubles with the government.