The headlines in Hindustan Times and The Times of India are dwarfed somewhat by the full-page advertisements for Discovery’s TV show Man Vs Wild that features Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and is being aired this evening.
In news, TOI headlines Eid: “Namaz in nearby mosques but no large gatherings for Eid in Kashmir”. “Some easing of lockdown but curfew back in Srinagar,” writes The Indian Express, “Strict security across Kashmir ahead of Eid,” headlines HT and “Restrictions return to Valley,” writes The Hindu.
TOI notes that the restrictions on Eid celebrations are due to concerns “that trouble makers may infiltrate such gatherings”.
HT reports that “security was stepped up in some parts of Srinagar.” Quoting NDTV, HT highlights that “police vehicles were seen making an announcement asking people to return to their homes.” The Hindu mentions that “all communication lines, including phones and the Internet, remained snapped for the seventh day and were unlikely to be restored on the occasion of the festival.”
TOI also reports on an “argument between former J&K chief ministers” Omar Abdullah and Mehboob Mufti who were in “detention at Hari Niwas Palace in Srinagar”. It got so “nasty” that the “two have now been kept in different places” and they were “accusing each other” of letting BJP into J&K. It goes on to report that Abdullah has been relocated to a “splendid hut.” TOI is the only one to write a “seven member Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen squad has infiltrated into J&K to carry out strikes on Eid or ahead of Independence Day, following a nod from ISI.”
HT carries a report on Home Minister Amit Shah’s speech in Chennai in which he said, “Article 370 needed to be removed as it was not beneficial for the country.” HT also reports on Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who alleges that there were efforts to “change to demography of Kashmir through ethnic cleansing.”
Meanwhile, Express says that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing Monday. Express notes that this comes days after China “objected to India’s decision to bifurcate J&K.” “If Beijing raises the J&K issue, the Indian side will be very categorical in its response that it is an internal matter,” writes Express.
Kerala Floods: “Under a hill that flattered, they stepped out, their neighbourhood was gone,” Express writes a heartfelt story covering the Kerala floods. “Around 8 pm Thursday,” when Thankamani “heard a booming sound she knew the hill was coming down. Seconds later, mud, trees and boulders swept down along the two sides of her home,” it adds.
The Hindu highlights that the death toll “in rain-related incidents” in Kerala rose to 72 Sunday, “even as most central and north Kerala districts reported diminished rainfall after four days of torrential downpour.” HT reports that the monsoon “has killed at least 140 people and displaced over one million in the three states in the past week, and three other states – Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – are battling a crisis triggered by sudden downpours.”
Interview with PM Modi: The Economic Times`s lead is an exclusive interview with PM Modi. “Our Mantra: Revive Animal Spirits, Make India Investment Magnet,” headlines ET quoting Modi, “I will leave no stone unturned in making India the best investment destination in the world, a better place to do business and go as far as possible to review animal spirits and make the entire private sector bullish.”
On Article 370, PM Modi claims that “it is certain that it will help create three necessary conditions for investment – stability, innovation and incomes.” He wants to “motivate industrialists to believe in the Indian story and in the long-term potential of the Indian market.”
PM’s comment on the slowdown of the automobile industry was: “the slowdown is transient, accentuated by credit constraints, some regulatory changes and passiveness in demand.” He believes that both the demand and the industry will “bounce back strongly and soon.”
Also making news is Sonia Gandhi’s appointment as interim Congress president. However “family loyalist” A.K. Antony argued that “Sonia has served as the party chief for 19 long years” and she should be “spared the pressures that the job would demand,” writes TOI in its second lead.
Express: In “The Rewind”, Express is skeptical of the Congress’s choice of Sonia Gandhi, who previously headed the party for 19 years till 2017, as its interim president. The move is not in tandem with what her son Rahul Gandhi suggested when he stepped down from the post over two months ago. He had said that the next president should be chosen outside of the Gandhi family. The party’s “privileged and entitled” choice suggests that it has run out of options and unlike the “BJP juggernaut”, it has failed to appeal to the young masses. Restating its principles to citizens and electing leaders in the party instead of nominating them could help Congress reclaim credibility, suggests Express. Sonia Gandhi will now have to take some “tough decisions” until a new president is appointed.
TOI: “Monsoon fury” coupled with encroachment on the Western Ghats and dam breaches have caused excessive flooding in parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, writes TOI. In “It’s a Deluge”, the newspaper highlights the damage caused in these states due to landslides and floods. It was only a year ago that Kerala experienced “its worst floods in a century”. In parts of Maharashtra, 1.5 lakh hectares of crop land have been destroyed while in Karnataka drought-hit parts are “now deluged”. Erratic monsoon, explains TOI, calls for improved research of rainfall estimates, revised methods for flood management and putting a stop to land encroachment on the Western Ghats that has made the surrounding states more vulnerable to such calamities.
As today is Eid, Kashmir made headlines yet again but the Congress’s selection of Sonia Gandhi as its president also got traction, on Sunday’s prime time.
Aaj Tak: A week after the revocation of Article 370, Aaj Tak claimed there was peace in Kashmir. Anchor Chitra Tripathi asked political analyst Salman Nizami: “Are you still not convinced about peace in the Valley?”
He replied: “….restrictions have been applied again. There is some relief in the city of Jammu. From whatever reports I have received I don’t think the situation has improved much.”
He added: “We don’t want any incident to take place that may result in a casualty.”
BJP’s Zafar Islam dispelled a widely circulating notion: “The intent behind scrapping Article 370 was not to let the rest of India buy land in Kashmir.” However, both Tripathi and Nizami pointed out that BJP leaders had been saying that people could buy land in Kashmir now and marry “fair Kashmiri women”.
Islam ignored this and claimed, “Our intention is to put an end to terrorism.”
NDTV India: On “Hum Log” anchor Nagma Sahar also focused on the Valley. Sahar observed that everyone in the state, except people of the Valley, is happy with the move.
Lawyer and PDP supporter Ilyas Nazir said, “J&K was always a part of India, removing Article 370 doesn’t make it any more a part of India. You don’t know if the people of the Valley are upset….”
But, he added, “No one can step out of the house — that is the ground reality. But the state apparatus will always show that there is peace.”
Dilip Sinha, an ambassador, said that originally, “Article 370 was brought in to tackle separatism. Separatism existed before Article 370. The idea behind giving J&K a special status was to ensure there would be decrease in the demand for freedom.”
India Today: Anchor Gaurav Sawant interviewed Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, on Kashmir.
Singh made rather grandiose claims. “The common man, even on the streets of Srinagar, is celebrating the abrogation of Article 370. The youth wishes to be part of the development under PM Modi, but are afraid to say so under the veil of fear,” he said.
Sawant asked, “Why are phone lines still disconnected if there is peace?”
Singh replied, “There have been numerous occasions when internet has been cut off and curfew has been imposed…. This decision has been taken by the security forces to minimise collateral damage. But not a single bullet has been fired.”
Times Now: `The Newshour’ debated Sonia Gandhi’s return as Congress president.
Senior journalist Shekhar Iyer said, “The Gandhi family and particularly Sonia Gandhi is the only glue that can keep the party together. We also saw that the pro-changers, the youngsters who wanted to take over, were outnumbered (at the CWC meet Saturday) by those who want to maintain the party’s status quo”.
“Rahul Gandhi’s original idea of bringing a new leader to the top stands scuttled,” he added.
Political analyst Alimmudin Khan agreed: “If you want to keep the Congress intact, you will need a Gandhi’s leadership.”
BJP’s Tuhin Sinha mocked the move: “Congress has a terrible sense of humour and a very poor judgment of the mood of the nation… my sense is that Rahul Gandhi was very clear from day 1 that someone from within the family have to lead the party.”
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