All newspapers today celebrate freedom by sporting full page advertisements. The Indian Express’ front page wishes readers, courtesy the Delhi and the Uttar Pradesh governments. The Times of India claims, in its ad says that “independence is nothing without interdependence.”
On Wednesday, an Alwar court “acquitted six people accused of lynching dairy farmer Pehlu Khan while he was transporting cows in Rajasthan two years ago,” writes Hindustan Times. Giving all the accused “the benefit of the doubt, the court observed that the Rajasthan Police probe had serious shortcomings and signified gross negligence,” writes Express.
HT highlights that “none of them were named in Khan’s dying declaration, and were arrested on the basis of identification in a viral video of the incident.” It quotes defence lawyer Hukum Chand Sharma about “several loopholes in police investigation worked in our favour. Police didn’t send the video for forensic testing or take the accused for an identification parade either in jail or in court.”
TOI says “supporters and relatives of the six people acquitted left the court premises chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.” TOI also mentions that the lawyer for Pehlu’s family, Qasim Khan said that “the police investigation was botched up and conducted under political pressure.”
HT’s second lead is the removal of ‘lockdown’ in Jammu. “An unprecedented communications blackout and restrictions on movement and assembly will continue in Kashmir for some more time but the curbs were fully lifted in Jammu,” tells HT.
Director general of police Munir Khan said, “There were localised incidents in various parts of Srinagar and other districts in the Valley, but these were contained and dealt with locally.”
Only on the Express’ front page is Shah Faesal’s detainment. “The Kashmiri IAS officer who resigned this year to take up politics, was prevented from boarding a flight from Delhi to Istanbul Wednesday.” He was later taken to Srinagar, “held under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and placed under house arrest,” writes Express. Sources revealed that he was detained based on “perception of threat to public order due to his activities.”
Cafe Coffee Day’s Tech Park: The Blackstone Group and developer Salarpuria Sattva have agreed to buy “Global Village Tech Part, owned by a subsidiary of Coffee Day Enterprises (CDEL), for about Rs 2,775 crore,” writes The Economic Times. This news gets front page billing in both ET and Business Standard. The deal is “expected to substantially reduce the overall debt burden of the group, which stands at around Rs 5,200 crore,” writes Business Standard.
Trump on WTO
“Trump repeats threat to take US out of WTO,” is The Hindu’s choice of second lead today. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said that the US “would leave the World Trade Organisation, if it had to.” The Hindu quotes the US President, “we were losing all our cases in the World Trade Organisation. Almost every case we were fighting – lost, lost, lost. They thought we were stupid. They were the ones ruling and then I came along.” In his speech, Trump named India and China as “examples of countries that had taken advantage of the US,” mentions Hindu.
TOI and HT scrape out readership data and claim the title of the most read newspaper in Delhi-NCR. HT remains the “undisputed market leader in Delhi-NCR for the 17th time,” it says. It is the “most read daily newspaper with 1.7 million readers while its closest competitor TOI, trails at 1.35 million,” boasts HT. These numbers come from the latest Indian Readership Survey Q2 figures.
TOI doesn’t back down in making far reaching claims: “The world’s biggest English newspaper keeps getting bigger.” –“…..between HT and TOI in terms of average readership has narrowed significantly, with TOI adding about 10,000 readers while HT has dropped 1.4 lakh. In total readership, TOI with 20.58 lakh readers has overtaken HT.”
TOI: On this Independence Day, TOI comments on the “state of personal liberties” in the country but not before quoting Rabindranath Tagore and EM Forster in “State of Freedom”. It discusses the “complex” issue of Kashmir, which is part of both “the legacy of independence” and the trauma of Partition. The Valley has been under lockdown after the Modi government scrapped special status of the state, and restrictions remain in order to “normalise the sensitive situation”. There is also a risk, adds TOI, that the lockdown could trigger large scale riots and pose further threats on people’s civil liberties. There are threats to freedom outside of Kashmir as well such as “draconian” sedition laws that undermine freedom of expression in the country. In India, freedom is a “work in progress”, concludes TOI.
The Hindu: In “Symptom as cause’’, The Hindu addresses slump in the automobile industry. Declining car sales indicate that “demand has dried up” among all segments of consumers from urban, semi-urban and rural, personal to institutional. Jobs in the industry are also at risk, said the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations. According to the newspaper, the slump is a symptom of India’s larger economic slowdown in India, given that the Reserve Bank of India also recently acknowledged a sluggishness in private consumption. The growing ride-share industry in urban areas has also posed a threat, with more people opting for “app-based commuting”. If the Centre does not push policies that can solve the auto crisis in time, it could “risk wider contagion” to the rest of the economy, writes The Hindu.
One week after the BJP’s move on Article 370, Kashmir continued to be the prime time debate. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement of solidarity with Kashmir also came up for debate.
The acquittal of six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case drew the attention CNN News 18 and Mirror Now.
India TV: On `Kurukshetra’, BJP’s reasons for the revocation of Article 370 led to a shouting match.
“You talk about development, Jammu and Kashmir is better than other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat…. And when it comes to crime, Kashmir is very safe,” insisted social activist Waqar Bhatti.
“We were locked up in our houses on Eid and told this is a day of freedom for us,” he added, bitterly.
“If there was peace in the Valley the last 70 years, why were 42,000 people killed? Secondly, what kind of Islam is this where Muslims are killing each other? The point remains that Article 370 didn’t unite the country, it divided us. This was a conspiracy between Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru,” said General S.P. Sinha.
Maulana Ather Hussain Dehlavi said, “Islam or Muslim is not mentioned in Article 370 at all. Politicians have ruined Kashmir.”
Zee News: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PoK visit was debated on `Taal Thok Ke’ with anchor Sachin Arora.
BJP’s Sambit Patra said, “We are looking forward to celebrating our independence day tomorrow while Pakistan has now become synonymous with frustration and agitation. They are screaming for help, but no one is listening to them.”
President of AIMIM Asaduddin Owaisi’s latest statement in which he said, “They (BJP) have a love for Kashmir, and not for Kashmiris. I may be killed for opposing Article 370”, was also brought in.
Syed Asim Waqar, national spokesperson AIMIM said, “Whatever Owaisi said is for intelligent people to understand, not idiots. If you understand what he is saying, you will be able to preserve the country’s peace.”
Republic: Arnab Goswami switched targets from his favourite `Tukde Tukde Gang’ to the new #NegativityGang that includes Kavita Krishan, Vimal Bhai, John Dreze and Maimoona Mollah. The channel said, “Kashmir is their latest agenda in a non-stop campaign to run India down.”
“Kavita Krishnan is an activist, not a journalist and John Dreze has spent his whole life working with India’s poor,” said journalist Saba Naqvi in their defense.
Anand Ranganathan, author and scientist, commented on Kavita Krishan, “We are debating the views of a woman who called (Burhan Wani’s killing) an ‘extra-judicial killing….”
BJP’s Sudhanshu Trivedi said, “Yes, of course, there should be space for other views. But, unfortunately, in the intellectual establishment of India, there was a monogamy — only one school of thought.”
CNN News 18: Anchor Zakka Jacob brought up the Pehlu Khan judgement.
“There were a lot of lapses on the investigating officers’ part,” insisted Akhtar Hussain, Pehlu Khan’s lawyer.
Lawyer Shehzad Poonawalla said, “A simple forensic test of a video was not done. Instead of ensuring justice, Ashok Gehlot’s government charged the family with cattle smuggling.”
Zakka pointed out that what matters is one man is dead and he has been denied justice. It doesn’t matter which party is involved.
However, BJP’s spokesperson, Amit Malviya defended his party: “We as a party, have been at the receiving end of media trial and liberal outrage because Pehlu Khan happened to die. When people from the Hindu community die, nobody sheds a tear for them.”
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