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Sardesai debates ‘Left v Right’ in campus violence, Rajat Sharma calls out Mehbooba

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Mainstream newspapers choose different leads Friday. Hindustan Times and The Hindu lead with the foreign envoys’ visit to Jammu and Kashmir; The Times of India leads with an exclusive report, “Conviction rate in IPC crimes at 50% for 1st time since 1988” and The Indian Express, too, leads with an exclusive on the government tightening drone rules after the attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the US.

In other page 1 news, the Delhi Police beat up JNU students during a march towards Rashtrapati Bhawan after their talks with officials of the Human Resources Development ministry failed.

And for a change, newspapers are advertisement heavy today but one in particular stands out — HT, TOI and Express carry the Kerala government’s advertisement on being the first state to “pass a unanimous resolution against the discriminatory CAA”. Unusual.

JNU violence: In its second lead, Hindu notes the violence that took place yesterday at Shastri Bhawan, adding that the HRD “ministry rules out V-C’s removal after talk with a delegation of students, teachers”.

Express adds former HRD minister, Murli Manohar Joshi’s contradicting statement, “V-C must not continue”. HT, on the flap, writes, “VC ‘loyalists’ on JNU panel to probe attack”. It reports that the panelists left the JNU Teachers Association “alleging that the association and students agitating against a proposed fee hike were ‘hand in glove’. TOI is the only paper to note that five days after the violence in JNU, no one has been arrested — “Five more JNU suspects singled out, no arrests”.

Foreign envoys to Kashmir: “A 15-member foreign envoys’ delegation arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit… and met over 100 people, including senior Valley-based politicians, top newspaper editors and grassroots representatives ”, writes Hindu.

HT notes that they are there to “assess the ground situation”. Express only features an image of Chinar Corps Commander Lt. Gen K. J. S. Dhillon briefing the envoys, while TOI oddly does not report the story on Page 1.

Conviction rate in IPC crimes: TOI reports that “for the first time in over three decades, the conviction rate for IPC (Indian Penal Code) cases has touched 50%.” However, it adds that the conviction rate remains “lower for serious crimes like rape, murder”.

Suicide rate among the poor: HT writes that National Crime Records Bureau data reveals that the “Poorest [are] most likely to commit suicide”. It adds that it is “the poorest, but not the most uneducated” who are likely to commit suicide.

In some good news, it writes, “Suicides of persons engaged in the farming sector, which used to be the most awaited statistic in the ADSI report have come down for the third consecutive year.”


The Indian Express: The government eased regulations for coal mining and Express calls it a “welcome move” in “Coal Comfort”. It writes that the increase in coal imports has put pressure on India’s current account in recent years. Express predicts that the following regulations can help aid in boosting coal production and help reduce the imports.

The relaxation will also help encourage private entities to participate in the re-auctioning of captive coal blocks, which were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2014. It writes that through these measures, the government is trying to facilitate the entry of major global coal players that can also help bring the latest technology.

The Hindu: In “A Continent On Fire”, Hindu talks about the “catastrophic” Australian bushfire. It writes that the fire season has “devastated over 10 million hectares of land this time, forcing evacuations”.

It calls it “a moment of reckoning for Australia” and predicts that as global average temperature increases, such fires could become more frequent. Without policy change, the situation is bound to worsen with surging temperature, writes Hindu. Ignoring this scientific insight would be tragic for the prosperity of Australia and its “charismatic animals”, it concludes.

Prime Time

TV debates remained focused on various protests by students and citizens across the country over the violence in JNU and the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Times Now debated why the Opposition was backing the controversial “Free Kashmir” campaign seen during protests in Mumbai and Delhi.

NDTV India’s anchor Ravish Kumar interacted with the women protestors in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and asked them about their understanding of the CAA. Prime time debate in Aaj Tak was dominated by the violence on JNU campus.

NDTV 24×7: On ‘Left Right and Centre’, anchor Nidhi Razdan spoke to constitution expert Madhav Khosla about the role of public readings of the Indian Constitution during the recent wave of protests that have sprung up across the country. Khosla pointed out that it is “sociologically interesting”, as the constitution has never been part of public life before this.

He said it’s a sign of “something dramatic going on that’s not business as usual”. He adds that this is also suggested by the scale, frequency and spontaneity of the protests. “What it captures is a growing social alienation…It’s not political opposition, it’s just straightforward alienation and exclusion”.

India Today: On ‘Big Question’, Rajdeep Sardesai debated whether the politicisation of violence on campuses has become a matter of “Left vs Right” or “Right vs Wrong”. He asked Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi why he was outraged by the JNU attack, but not by the fact that BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta was locked up by West Bengal’s Vishwa Bharati students in a building for six hours.

Singhvi replied, “You walked into a trap, Rajdeep. And I’m so delighted”. He added that he tweeted “strongly” against the Dasgupta incident in the morning, specifically condemning confinement and intimidation. “My tweet can be retrieved by you and shown on your screens,” he said.

Swapan Dasgupta said that what he experienced was a “denial of rights”. “Is this a malaise of society or is it specific to universities? I believe the latter,” he added.

He said if this kind of thing continues, universities will become “no go areas”.

India TV: In ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, anchor Rajat Sharma noted that former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s party PDP is going through some trouble. As a delegation visited Kashmir to get updates on the situation in the Valley, Mufti maintained that she didn’t want her party to meet any delegation sponsored by the Centre.

Sharma explains that Mufti thought that this strict action would scare her party members but the exact opposite happened. Muzaffar Hussain Baig, founder member of PDP pinned the blame of the Valley’s current situation on Mufti’s ‘provocative statements’.

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