The Supreme Court’s stay on cutting trees in Mumbai’s Aarey colony was the talking point of the day although it received strong competition from TMC MP Nusrat Jahan.
Video clips of her participating in Dussehra festivities – and the criticism this received from an Islam cleric—was widely covered across channels.
At prime time, CNN-News 18 discussed the issue as well as a row over Azaan as a puja symbol at some pandals.
NDTV 24×7 asked, “No more tree cutting but no bar to construction. Hollow victory for Aarey activists?”
Times Now reverted to one of its favorite topics – Congress. It focused on Rahul Gandhi’s reported trip to Cambodia ahead of assembly polls and followed that with discussions on a Congress “booklet” which is purportedly “anti-Hindu” in ‘#CongBacksIslamistHate’ .
Aaj Tak took a break from the news at 8 PM to join Kumar Vishwas in a musical Dussehra celebration.
India Today: On ‘News Today’, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai asked, “Aarey trees: Murder or Green Cover?”
He interviewed actress and activist Dia Mirza who said, “It’s a fallacy to assume that trees that have existed for hundreds of years can be replaced with 40 saplings a tree.”
She added, “What is important to acknowledge is that the movement to protect the 2,700 trees of the Aarey forest is probably the biggest movement that Mumbai has seen.”
Sardesai then switched to politics and asked Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena, if her party chose its alliance over trees.
Chaturvedi said, “We have brought up this issue in the assembly, Parliament as well as the BMS.”
BJP’s Shaina NC claimed – “The development of Mumbai city is as important as the environment.”
Republic: Nusrat Jahan was criticised by a Muslim hardliner for participating in Dussehra celebrations and this was the topic of Arnad Goswami’s ‘The Debate’ with the hashtag #MoveOnHardliners.
“If Nusrat Jahan has prayed to any god, it is her democratic right (to celebrate Dussehra); similarly, the cleric who raised an issue (on this) used his right,” observed Islamic scholar Dr. Faheem Baig.
Another Islamic scholar and advocate Subuhi Khan said, “What Nusrat Jahan is doing is exercising her constitutional rights.”
“Nusrat Jahan is used by the government to cover the failure of the state, why is she always in the limelight?” asked Islamic scholar Maqsood Ul Hussaini Qasmi.
India TV: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is set to perform Shastra Puja in France after receiving the first-ever Rafale jet and this set off a controversy on `Kurukshetra’.
BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said that Shastra Puja is not particularly about France and Rafale jet – “Vijayadashmi is an occasion when we worship our weapons… Why are people in our country debating about it? It should be the ‘other countries’ who need to worry.”
Muslim Political Council of India president Tasleem Rahmani commented, “It is good that Defence Minister is going to France and performing puja – but I would also request him to pray for the Rafale deal files which got misplaced.”
Defence Expert R.S.N. Singh read a very different message into Rajnath’s puja: “…it is an indication to Pakistan.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to stay the felling of more trees in Mumbai’s Aarey area makes news on the front pages of mainstream newspapers Tuesday. The Indian Express and The Times of India also report the release of three Indian hostages by the Taliban in exchange for 11 of its leaders on Page 1.
Aarey: Express’ report is headlined – “Aarey: SC stops felling of trees, State says have cut what’s needed,” TOI writes, “SC stays tree-felling at Aarey till Oct 21, but 98% already cut”. Hindustan Times’ headline is almost the same as TOI’s – “SC halts felling of Aarey trees; Govt says 98% already cut.”
Express adds that the SC ordered “status quo even as the Maharashtra government told the court that trees that had to be cut have already been cut,”
TOI notes, that the damage “may have already been done with Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) saying it has chopped 2,141 trees since the Bombay high court gave its go-ahead on Friday.”
HT carries of Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, that “the authorities would not chop any more trees.”
Indian Hostages: The Afghan Taliban “have released three Indian engineers, who were held hostage for over a year “in exchange for 11 of its members reports TOI. “[They were] part of a group of seven engineers kidnapped along with their driver by Taliban terrorist Mullah Yunus of Baghlan from northern Afghanistan in May last year,” it writes. It notes that one of them was released in March, but the “fate of the rest remains unclear.”
Express provides details that the “latest release follows meetings between US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation” and “Taliban representatives.”
Others: J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik, Monday, lifted a two-month old advisory that directed Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave the Valley days before the Centre revoked Article 370. Express quotes the statement – “this will be done with effect from 10 October.” HT also takes note of this news.
HT’s lead is on Delhi’s air – “Bad air measures kick in next week to check spike.” It says, “vacuum-cleaning and sprinkling of water on roads will be intensified, pollution hot spots put under closer scrutiny, and industrial emission regulations will be enforced more strictly from 15 October.”
TOI carries a report on the first Comprehensive National Nutritional Survey of the Union Health Ministry which found that only “6.4% of Indian children aged less than two years get a ‘minimum acceptable diet’.”
HT also reports that “days ahead of a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)” which will consider “whether to blacklist Pakistan,” an official report found that Pakistan is “fully compliant with only 40 recommendations made by the global watchdog to counter terror financing and money laundering.”
Express: In ‘The Withering’, Express calls out the Congress for not being able to perform its role of the main opposition. Referring to the upcoming assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the newspaper writes that the BJP has “rallied together a broad coalition of the non-dominant castes,” while the Congress has been “unresisting” and the leaders have “squabbled loudly.” The BJP is able to “dismiss and discount dissent” and the “voice of the minority because the countervailing forces are depleted so terribly.” Express notes that the answer cannot be a “sulk or a lament,” the party has to be “more imaginative.” The reason to worry is not BJP’s dominance, but the “lack of any apparent check on it and the weakening of the call to accountability.”
HT: The newspaper comments on the the Supreme Court’s Aarey decision. It writes that the SC’s decision is a “welcome boost to the case” but the “damage has already done.” The forestland is home to a variety of flora and fauna and is the “catchment for the city’s two rivers”. It also helps tackle pollution, floods and brings down temperatures. HT notes that the protest to save Aarey colony “is an important marker in India’s environmental history.” The activism shows that urban India is interested in environmental issues. The paper calls on the government that seems “negligent of the importance of ecological resilience.”