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“Day after Diwali, Delhi’s air turns ‘hazardous’” reported The Times of India in an early-morning headline on its website, seeking to explain today’s thick smog.

“Hours after Diwali celebrations, a thick haze enveloped Delhi-NCR” wrote The Indian Express, adding, “Last evening, people remained unmindful of the deadline [set by the Supreme Court] and continued bursting fire crackers till late leading to severe deterioration in air quality.”

As north India’s newspapers didn’t go to print today on account of Diwali, their online editions carried reports on the thick fog Delhi woke up to Thursday morning. The Indian Express is even running live updates on the levels of pollution around Delhi.

Meanwhile, cricket captain Virat Kohli is trending on account of a statement where he told a fan to “get (his) priorities right”. In a video that has since gone viral, Kohli is seen responding to a fan who says he prefers watching Australian and English batsmen to Indian ones, and says Kohli’s batting is “overrated”. Kohli’s response: “Why are you living in our country and loving other countries?”

The Indian Express decided to headline its piece “Fan calls him ‘overrated’, Virat Kohli says ‘don’t think you should live in India’”. The Times of India wrote, “This is one stroke Virat Kohli’s millions of fans are unlikely to applaud.” They further quoted a BCCI official as saying that “Virat needs to understand that if the fans go away to other countries, then no Puma etc will want to sign him for 100 crores”.

Twitter didn’t take kindly to his comments.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy saw nothing wrong in his remarks, though.

In other news, Thursday marks the second anniversary of demonetisation, the deeply controversial decision on the Narendra Modi government that caused a severe cash crunch, which forced hundreds of thousands to queue up outside banks and ATMs for hours.

The Indian Express recounts, “The sudden withdrawal of notes led to liquidity shortage, with long queues outside banks. It had also roiled the economy, with demand falling, businesses facing a crisis, and GDP growth declining close to 1.5 per cent. Many small units were hit hard, with many reporting huge losses even after nine months.”

“However”, the report continues, “the World Bank in April said the Indian economy appeared to have recovered.”

But a report in Hindustan Times, published Wednesday, ran with the headline, “Two years after demonetisation, crisis in rural India”. It said demonetisation had worsened economic affairs in rural India for two reasons: “One, the relative erosion of rural agricultural wages; and two, the fall in bargaining power of farmers in receiving an attractive price for their produce.”

Prime Time

Religion and nationalism

On Aaj Tak, Sayeed Ansari anchored a discussion on whether the role of the government was only to change the names of places. The discussion was based on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s recent decisions to change the name of Allahabad, Faizabad as well as the Mughal Sarai railway station.

RSS supporter Sangeet Ragi weighed in on the debate with a call to build the Ram temple. “Building of the Ram temple is equal to building a temple for the entire nation,” he said.

Fellow panelist Tasleem Rehmani, the chief of the Muslim Political Council of India, added, “Please do not compare religion with nationalism, both of them are two entirely different concepts.”

News it’s just kinda cool to know

The ozone layer, which shields Earthlings from cancer-causing solar rays, is recovering at a rate of one to three per cent per decade, “reversing years of dangerous depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals”, a UN study has found, Reuters reports.

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