Thursday, 1 December, 2022
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The Economist calls out Modi’s ‘Intolerant India’ & Kejriwal says Times Now scared of govt

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With the coronavirus death toll up to 25 in China, various countries, including India, are becoming increasingly paranoid. Hindustan TimesThe Times of India and The Hindu lead with stories on the new deadly strain. Hindu reports on the Wuhan lockdown — “Virus-hit Wuhan locked down”; HT notes, “Indians back from Wuhan placed under close watch” while TOI is belated with its headline in comparison, “25 Indians trapped in Wuhan: Virus reaches S’pore, Vietnam”.

The Economist’s cover story this week is “Intolerant India”. The respected UK weekly comments that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stoking “divisions in the world’s biggest democracy”. On the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), it says, “Many of the country’s 200m Muslims do not have the papers to prove they are Indian, so they risk being made stateless. Ominously, the government has ordered the building of camps to detain those caught in the net.”

The Indian Express front page is rather cluttered today with five stories above the fold. It covers a range of issues including former President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement supporting protests across India, the law ministry linking Aadhaar with voter ID, and Pakistan getting relief at FATF meet.

Coronavirus: Hindu writes that “trains and planes indefinitely suspended” in Wuhan and that there are “travel curbs in neighbouring cities too”. HT reports that “atleast 25 students who have returned from colleges in Wuhan to their homes in India are under close watch for symptoms”. It adds that “the pathogen is believed to have begun spreading to humans from a meat market in Wuhan”. Express reports a completely different story — “An Indian nurse working in Saudi Arabia has been infected with coronavirus and is under treatment in the Gulf nations”.

SC on death penalty: HT notes, “Death penalty can’t be open-ended, says CJI” adding that “courts should focus not only on the rights of the accused but also of the victims.” Hindu writes, “The condemned can’t fight endlessly, says CJI”. It carries the CJI’s quote in a box that reads, “It is not the judge but the law that deals with a criminal”. TOI, too, uses a similar headline (“Death penalty not open-ended, must have finality: SC”), adding that “many are under the impression that concurrently awarded death penalty is open-ended and can be argued against as and when one wishes”. Express notes, “The remarks come at a time when convicts in the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case have been filing petitions one after the other.”

IndiGo engine snag: TOI’s lead story on the flap is scary— “IndiGo mid-air scare after 22nd engine snag in 2 years”. It reports, “The crew on board experienced severe vibrations and a loud bang at 23,000 ft”.

Surprisingly, HT chooses to omit the name of the airline in its headline, “Plane forced to return after engine malfunctions”, adding that “one of its engines malfunctioned less than an hour after take-off”.

Others: One of Express’ lead story notes, “Law Ministry OK to link Aadhaar with voter ID but with safeguards”. The report highlights that this step comes at a time when “citizenship, data protection, and surveillance are being hotly debated”.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s remarks, “Ongoing protests will deepen our democratic roots”, also make it to Page 1. TOI also carries the story on the front page.


Hindustan Times: HT writes that inviting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as the Republic Day chief guest is “appropriate” keeping in mind India’s interests in “Deepening India Brazil ties”. Brazil has been India’s closest partner in BRICS, but the lack of economic and strategic links between the two countries is the reason for intangible results despite aspirational joint statements, it argues. HT hopes that this visit will fill this gap.

Brazil is a dominant country in South America and is an “obvious country for India to seek a closer engagement with”, according to the daily. Despite geographical limitations in security cooperation, Brazil has expressed concerns about China’s rise, notes HT and adds that India could take some lessons from the emerging economy.

It writes that Bolsonaro’s “deeply objectionable statements about women and climate cannot be the basis of determining inter-state relations. India’s primary interest should be that the Brazilian leader takes business seriously” and adds “muscle to the bilateral relationship”.

The Times of India: In its editorial titled “Be humane”, TOI writes that the Supreme Court must decide the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) fast. It notes that the CAA as passed by the Parliament has an “inherent bias against Muslims.” It provides examples of Myanmar’s Rohingyas, Afghanistan’s Hazra Shias and secular bloggers from Bangladesh and writes the notion that only the non-Islamic minorities face persecution is flawed.

It suggests that granting citizenship to illegal migrants irrespective of country and religion is humane and in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution. It will also help mend the “CAA-engineered gaping hole in India’s secular fabric”, the daily writes.

Prime Time

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, in an interview with News X, said that his party wasn’t threatened by the Aam Aadmi Party’s free water and free electricity schemes. He added the BJP would soon reveal a “vision document” for Delhi as part of its “mera dilli, mera sujhaav”(my Delhi, my suggestions) campaign.

Times Now’s ‘Town Hall’ saw anchor Rahul Shivshankar host Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP leader, for the first time, publicly voiced his concerns about the CAA and said that the law should not be there. He said AAP was here to “govern” and the only agenda to contest elections should be based on “development”. More interestingly, Kejriwal roundly criticized Times Now and accused them of not talking about the economy or unemployment. “They (the ruling government) powerful enough to close down the channel. That is why Times Now 24/7 talks about Hindu-Muslim”, he said to applause from the audience.

On News Nation, Deepak Chaurasia wondered why the slogans of ‘Jai Bheem, Jai Meem’ were being raised during the Shaheen Bagh protests. On NDTV India, anchor Sushil Bahuguna discussed the spat between actors Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah over the CAA.

India Today: The ‘Mood of the Nation’ poll, carried out by India Today and Karvy Survey, indicated that if elections were held today the NDA would still score a “triple century” with 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, but that would be a drop from the 353 seats it won in 2019. The UPA would get 108 seats, and other parties would get 132.

Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director of India Today, pointed out that this drop in BJP’s popularity was because the government was “not focused on the economy or infrastructure but only on the Hindutva agenda”. He added that the Opposition, which Modi had “flattened”, was now regrouping.

Researcher Manisha Priyam said that the government was setting their agenda, focusing on “consolidating Hindu vote bank”. Election specialist Ajit Jha, on the other hand, pointed out that six months was not enough time for a “massive fall”, and the BJP did get a “pat on the back” for Article 370 and Ayodhya.

NDTV 24×7: On ‘NDTV at Davos’, journalist Vishnu Som grilled top industrialists about the IMF slashing its estimate on India’s 2019 economic growth to 4.8 per cent, and how that affected the global market. Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said that “lots of countries would die for 4.8 per cent” but for a developing country that figure was not a good sign.

Som asked Apollo Vice Chairperson Shobana Kamineni about how India was being called “resilient” but should focus on being “resurgent”. She rebutted saying India was a “country of many”, and not just averages and singles. “Many states are growing at 7-8 per cent, like Karnataka at 9 per cent”.

News 18 India: On ‘#News18Adhiveshan’, Congress’ Gaurav Vallabh and BJP’s Sambit Patra got into a heated debate and lost track of the actual topic of the debate, the upcoming Delhi elections.

Patra shamelessly said that he would “reveal Sonia Maino’s (Sonia Gandhi) reality” and “expose Lady Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru”. Vallabh responded to him by repeatedly asking and targeting PM Modi, “who was ‘tadipaar’(expelled)?”

Meanwhile, on a different panel, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani, when asked about the inconvenience caused due to Shaheen Bagh protests, said that it is their constitutional right. “The police around Shaheen Bagh are occupying five times more land than the protesters. Also, protests happen on roads and streets, one will not go to Jupiter to protest”, he added.

Zee News: Anchor Aman Chopra discussed Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary’s statement calling PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah ‘Ranga Billa’ and claimed that Zee News’ research teams have found that 133 abuses have been hurled at PM Modi till now.

JD(U)’s K.C. Tyagi said that calling an elected representative ‘Ranga Billa’ is not just disrespecting the PM, but the nation itself.

Social activist Mehaz Khan said, “Understand the chronology, it started before the elections itself when PM Modi was also calling names and mocking Congress leaders”.

Also read: For Times Now and others, Vadra-Sonia link is more important than Indian economy


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  1. It is no secret that there is an ongoing international level lefty conspiracy to finish off Modi politically. This a battle for the survival of the soul of India.

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