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Times Now, Republic and Zee News lead TV news attack on BJP in Unnao rape case

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Prime Time

Prime time TV news debates put the BJP in the dock for murky details in the Unnao rape case and the tardy expulsion of its MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the accused in the rape case.

Times Now and Republic played video footages of Sengar’s aides meeting him in jail – allegedly passing money to a policeman in Republic’s video.

Zee News: Anchor Aman Chopra said the BJP “woke up too late”. BJP’s Gaurav Bhatia surprisingly took a clear stand: “Although I’m here as a BJP spokesperson, that doesn’t mean I will defend such behaviour as that of Sengar”.

Times Now: Anchor Rahul Shivshankar took the BJP to task. He criticised the party for its lackadaisical attitude.

“Listen to how it tried to appropriate the moral high ground,” he said and played BJP’s G.V.L. Narasimha Rao’s comments outside Parliament where he praised the party’s lack of leniency on Sengar.

BJP’s Sambit Patra strongly defended the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath: “I have enquired and come to know that Yogi’s intentions are good. UP’s police system and a number of other systems are crumbling. But he is trying his best.”
Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi, wasn’t convinced. “Why is BJP embracing such an element like Sengar?…in the past few years scamsters, rapists and scumbags are all gravitating towards the BJP because they see that if they are with the ruling party, they have better protection.”

Republic: Anchor Arnab Goswami played the video of Sengar’s aides passing money to a policeman at the jail and discussed the murkier side to the case.
BJP’s Gaurav Bhatia piously claimed, “We are with the victim.”

“If BJP is with the victim and against the accused, why was an FIR not lodged? The whole system was against the 18-year-old girl,” asked Shahid Siddiqui, editor at Nai Duniya.
Poornima Advani, former chairperson of National Commission for Women, said, “It is very clear that it was an attempt to murder the rape victim. The police meant for security was selectively absent from the van. The accused does not deserve to live. He needs to be taken to the gallows.”

CNN-News 18: In #DeathByPollution, anchor Zakka Jacob discussed the depleting air quality in Delhi after a 28-year-old developed fourth stage cancer attributed to air pollution.

“My last six years’ experience has shown that 50% of my patients today are non-smokers,” said Dr Arvind Kumar, founder trustee, Lung Care Foundation.
“In four years, Arvind Kejriwal gave over Rs 7,000 crores to the power companies. That money could have been used for environment-friendly projects like electric buses,” said BJP’s Pratyush Kanth.

Aaj Tak: Raids at Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur, founded by Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, found 2,500 stolen books. This was followed by protests by SP workers.

Anchor Rohit Sardana asked: “Can the Samajwadi Party save Azam Khan?

Political analyst Arshad Abid insisted there were no allegations against Azam Khan so far. “All this is happening because the state and central governments are BJP’s. They are plotting against him,” he said.
BJP’s Sambit Patra was quick to refute this. “BJP didn’t file any complaint. The principal of Oriental College filed a complaint…”

Political analyst Jitendra Tripathi criticised Khan. “This…university was created with the intention to teach students…Everything that could possibly have been wrong, he did wrong.”

Front page

The Unnao case continues to dominate the headlines after the Supreme Court Thursday “transferred five cases of crimes committed against the Unnao rape survivor and her family from a CBI court in Lucknow to its counterpart in Delhi”, reports The Hindu.

Hindu, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and The Times of India (on one of its flaps) carry this as their lead.

HT says SC has also ruled that the trials “be completed within 45 days of commencement” and that the Uttar Pradesh government pay her “Rs 25 lakh” as interim compensation.

TOI adds that the bench has also ordered “CRPF security cover to the survivor and her lawyer as well as their families”. The family has also been offered healthcare at AIIMS, New Delhi.

Express says that “hours after government” in Uttar Pradesh was “hauled over the coals” by the Supreme Court, the BJP “expelled its Bangarmau MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the accused in the case”.

Assam and NRC: A big story that Express gives top billing to is “Flying in SC face, Assam releases list of how many out of NRC in each district”. TOI and HT bury this story in their inside pages.

Flouting SC’s directions to “State NRC Coordinator almost a year ago”, the Assam government Thursday revealed “district-wise figures of people left out from the National Register of Citizens,” writes Express.

“In districts close to the Bangladesh border” (where the percentage of Muslim population is higher), the “exclusion percentage was lower while in the other districts it was comparatively higher.” Express explains that the government used this data “to argue that the process was flawed”, which led to BJP MLAs “slamming” the court-mandated coordinator.”

In its ‘Explained’ box, Express says the data which “shows low exclusion in Muslim-dominated areas, doesn’t fit with the BJP narrative.”

‘Free’ electricity in Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement of “free electricity for people consuming up to 200 units under a domestic connection” (Hindu) is noticed by the national dailies. Each national daily points out that this decision comes six months before the Delhi Assembly elections in February 2020.

HT says, “Domestic consumers now get a flat 50% subsidy on the price charged for power, each unit consumed in the 0-200 units bracket and 201-400 units bracket costs Rs 3 and Rs 4.50 respectively.”

Stock slump: Economic Times and Business Standard’s lead story is the stock ‘slump’ in India.

ET headlines has a nice pun to it: “Fed up, Bulls Vacate D St Address Amid Local Woes”, while BS highlights “US Fed’s Hawkish interest rate cut sends Sensex, Nifty into a tailspin.”

Stocks slumped in India Thursday “as they did across the world”, with the Nifty “closing below 11,000 points for the first time in five months after the US Federal Reserve dashed market expectations of a lengthy rate-cut cycle,” writes ET.

BS underlines that the “comments saw the bond yield and the dollar rise, triggering risk-aversion among investors.”

Consular access for Jadhav: Also making news is Islamabad’s “offer” of consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav. Express writes, “India said it was ‘evaluating’ the proposal and would respond through diplomatic channels”. However, TOI mentions that Islamabad is “unlikely to allow Indian officials to speak to Jadhav in private” and that it has laid down certain conditions for allowing the same.

Ayodhya mediation: TOI makes its lead on its second front-page flap: “Ayodhya mediation fails, SC to fix daily hearing schedule”. “Any glimmer of hope” for a “negotiated settlement” to the “long-pending dispute over the ownership of the 2.77 acre” Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land in Ayodhya “faded with the SC-appointed high-level mediation panel” on Thursday “expressing its inability to resolve the issue,” it writes.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi “will take up the matter” Friday, and “fix a schedule for commencement of day-to-day hearing on a bunch of appeals challenging the Allahabad high court’s September 30, 2010 verdict which divided the disputed land into three equal parts — one part each to Ram Lalla (idol), Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board”, says TOI.

The deployment of 25,000 more troops in Jammu and Kashmir also made headlines. Hindu says police sources reveal that this has been done to “work on a build-up at the district levels across the State”.


HT: In ‘Rate cuts haven’t worked’, HT attributes India’s economic slowdown to two factors: one, the disruption in two important sectors — telecom and automobile — due to new, aggressive competition, and two, high taxes levied on the super-rich and strict regulation on Corporate Social Responsibility funds, which has spooked businesses.

Currently, India’s growth index is the lowest since April 2015 while its GDP is declining due to poor core sector industrial growth and a dip in vehicular sales, writes HT.

The Centre’s efforts to stimulate economic growth have “only made matters worse”. So far, the RBI has cut policy rates three times this year with speculation of another cut to be announced at the next monetary policy meeting, starting 7 August. Instead of bringing down borrowing costs, the focus should be on resurrecting demand, says HT.

TOI: In ‘India, Drive Safely’, TOI discusses the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, tabled by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in Rajya Sabha, which proposes hefty penalties for traffic offences in a bid to deter unsafe, aggressive driving.

Implementing these penalties will be the main challenge, giving an opportunity for the Centre and state governments to “get their acts right” and for police personnel to resist “old habits like bribery”. The Bill proposes “cashless” medical treatment for accident victims, which would help medical professionals who usually face harassment from police for admitting hit-and-run victims to hospitals.

The Bill also holds those who create roads accountable — authorities and contractors will be fined up to Rs 1 lakh for “poor design, construction and maintenance of roads”.

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