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HomePlugged InMamata meme case: Dinamani says public figures must have thick skin

Mamata meme case: Dinamani says public figures must have thick skin

A round up of the Hindi and Tamil newspapers opinion pages to reflect a North-South viewpoint on topical issues.

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13 May, 2019: Amar Ujala writes on BT Brinjal being surreptitiously grown in India and asks, “Pichali gali se BT?” Despite a ban on the production of BT Brinjal, farmers are growing it in Haryana’s Fatehabad and selling it in the local market. If the administration doesn’t take action immediately, it will be impossible to stop BT farming.

India has so far allowed the cultivation of only BT cotton. It is astonishing, writes Ujala, that the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is silent on the issue.

Dainik Jagran talks of the cheap politics over the gangrape in Alwar, Rajasthan. It says not just FIR but the police went slow in arresting the culprits too because elections were to take place. Now parties are using it to score political mileage over it.

14 May: Dainik Bhaskar says now that this long-drawn election nears its completion, politicians who made tall claims about the outcomes will now come face to face with reality. The politicians are like the Romanian poet who placed a lot of empty chairs to be their audience, knowing that neither the chairs pretend like his poetry nor did they censor them.

Dainik Jagran, in a strongly-worded piece, questions the 14-day judicial custody of BJP worker Priyanka Sharma, who had allegedly shared a morphed image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media. The image might be distasteful, but it cannot be called objectionable. Is jest and laughter banned in West Bengal or has the state created new rules for itself, asks Jagran.

15 May: Amar Ujala quotes the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report that says every fifth candidate, which means 19 per cent, in this Lok Sabha election has criminal case against them — this indicates that the steps taken on election reforms have proved to be inadequate. The criminal charges ranged from murder to kidnapping.

The paper says political parties are not serious in not allowing people with criminal backgrounds to fight elections.

16 May: Amar Ujala in ‘Beqabu Bangal’ says the state has witnessed violence in each phase of this election, but the violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata and vandalisation of the bust of Bengali polymath Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar need to be condemned.

In response, the Election Commission has cut short poll campaigning by a day and transferred officials. Mamata Banerjee has shown her desperation by not allowing rallies of BJP leaders in the state and the BJP’s desperation is evident from the way it criticised the Election Commission. The culture of violence in elections needs to stop, it says.

17 May: Dainik Jagran calls BJP’s Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s Godse the ‘deshbhakt’ remark “sharmsar karne wala bayaan”. It says this is the second or third time that Pragya Thakur has made controversial statements and embarrassed the party. She had earlier commented on police officer Hemant Karkare, who died fighting terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and made controversial claims about Babri mosque too. The newspaper says political parties should not make anyone their candidate for political benefits.

Pragya may have apologised for Godse remark, but she has damaged the party in the same way as Congress leader Sam Pitroda did to his party after making the “hua to hua” statement on the 1984 Sikh massacre.


13 May: Dinamani writes on the chaos in the collegium method of appointing judges. It says the process remains “controversial”. India is the only country where judges appoint other judges. A constitutional set-up to appoint judges will be a permanent solution to this issue as judges appointing judges is not the right way and authorising the government to appoint judges is not the right thing either.

The Hindu Tamil writes on India-US trade relations. It says, “Wilbur Ross (US Commerce Secretary) echoes President Trump’s opinion that India is a ‘tariff king’. The price that India pays for its relationship with US in the world is not simple. The US imposing sanctions on Iran has put us in a difficult spot in our oil imports. But diplomacy is structured with conversations and negotiations. India should change its diplomatic strategy.”

14 May: Dinamani tackles the economic implications of fulfilling the populist election promises of all the political parties. It says if these election promises are to be fulfilled, the Indian economy would “encounter the biggest slump”.

16 May: Dinamani talks about the suicide of a woman and her daughter in Neyyattinkara, Kerala, after alleged threats from a bank on repayment of loans. Listing the bad loans of every PSU bank, it says, “Middle-class people who are afraid of humiliation are usually targeted by these banks”. Meanwhile, the Vijay Mallyas and Nirav Modis move to foreign countries and enjoy an opulent life, it says. If one has to be born an Indian, they should only be born as crorepatis. If one has to borrow from banks, they should only borrow in crores, it concludes sarcastically.

The Hindu’s editorial is about the death of five patients who were on life support during power cuts in Madurai Rajaji Government hospital on 8 May. “Tamil Nadu government hospitals see a footfall of 6.5 lakh out-patients every single day. One of the reasons for Tamil Nadu’s growth is its great public healthcare system. The government should carefully handle this as this is related to thousands of lives,” it writes.

17 May: Dinamani writes on SC’s demand for an apology by BJYM worker Priyanka Sharma who was arrested for sharing a meme of Mamata Banerjee. It says, “When Priyanka Sharma refused to come out on bail, the next day SC ordered her release. It should have stopped there. We do not understand the fairness in asking for a written apology during her release.” It went on to say if this trend of SC seeking apology has to be followed, “then every day there would be apologies for cartoons published in newspapers”. In a democracy, people in public life are bound to face criticism. Not being thick-skinned will only crucify freedom of expression, it writes.

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