Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
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Who is John Allen Chau, where is his body and what was his mission, asks media

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The alleged killing of a young American six days ago brought out the melodramatic in journalists. There’s something about the story — and even its coverage — that reads like a Gothic tale.

John Allen Chau’s tragic end, his identity, and reclaiming his body from the heavily protected Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar chain, is as obscure to the media as the Sentinelese who inhabit it: “Bible saved him from an arrow, he fell to another,” writes The Times of India dramatically; Hindustan Times is more emotive: “Don’t be angry if I get killed: American wrote before going to island,” this after Washington Post had first published extracts from Chau’s diary entries on his visit, headlined, “I don’t want to die”.

TOI calls him an American citizen, who “had gone there as a missionary to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island,” as his diaries reveal. The Indian Express thinks he’s an ‘American tourist’, but the paper leads with, “6 days and counting: Key question here is how to get his body”. All three papers refer to the Sentinelese as “reclusive”.

The Indian Express explains that the island is heavily restricted “in order to safeguard their (the Sentinelese) health and sovereignty” adding, “Missionaries have been historically unwelcome in the Andamans, and the tribes of the Islands have resisted every occupation force with bows and arrows.”

Jammu and Kashmir

On Jammu and Kashmir, Express and The Hindu are more critical of the Governor’s abrupt dissolution of the state assembly than TOI and Hindustan Times which simply welcome ‘fresh elections’. Express in “Graceless in J&K” writes that the Governor’s move “smacks of a slyness so last century”. TOI focuses on strength of the National Conference-Peoples Democratic Party-Congress alliance, but makes no mention of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Madhav’s comments accusing them of following “instructions across the border”.

The Hindu criticises the “unlawful dissolution” that “has violated constitutional law and convention”.

Kartarpur Corridor

Reports of Pakistan agreeing to open the Kartarpur Corridor is the lead in most headlines — the Express calls it, “the first signs of a thaw in India-Pakistan relations”, the TOI says we are on “the verge of a breakthrough”. Hindustan Times explains, “India’s outreach to Pakistan also marks the first formal contact between the two sides since New Delhi called off a meeting of the foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in September.”

Other news

An oddball story in TOI on the growth of Chinese apps that make it easy for paedophiles to prey on young children.

Hindustan Times devotes a two-page spread (16-17) on the Mumbai terror attacks’ 10th anniversary on 26 November.

The Hindu says on Page 1, “Comic Con puts adult content in goody bag for children,” causing an uproar among parents.

Absent

The huge farmer’s march to Mumbai was largely absent across front pages, with the exception of The Hindu. The vertical photo on Express Page 1, however, said it all.

Prime Time

Thursday evening was battleground Kashmir once again as all the main prime time debates across English news channels saw verbal duels on the dissolution of the J&K assembly the evening before.

TV anchors had different axes to grind.

India Today

At 9 pm, Rajdeep Sardesai asked J&K People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, one of the claimants to forming a government in the state, whether he and his party went too far by accusing the Opposition of taking directions from Pakistan: were they questioning the patriotism of the opposition parties?

Lone stuck to his guns: “Pakistan is very much involved in Kashmir, sometimes overtly and other times covertly. Even a kid in Kashmir can tell that.”

Republic

While Arnab Goswami believed that “what happened in Kashmir last night is unprecedented”, he singled out Lone as the man to watch out for in the upcoming elections. Goswami asked Lone how he would have got the numbers to form the government, to which the PC leader vaguely explained, “Whatever I was going to do was going to be within the ambit of the Constitution. If a certain number of members break away from the party, it is constitutionally allowed.”

Times Now

Anchor Athar Khan took a much more aggressive stance: how can the BJP, previously allied with the PDP, now praise the Governor for saving India from an alleged terror-friendly alliance led by Mufti?

BJP’s Amit Malviya didn’t directly answer but claimed that his party had kept the PDP in check. PDP spokesperson Najmu Saqib saw a contradiction in BJP’s stance:
“…when BJP is losing to regional parties they call the regional parties anti-national or say that the parties have an association with Pakistan. What happens when PM Modi himself travels to Pakistan.”

News it’s kinda cool to know

According to a study published in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, children with intellectual disabilities are more likely to reside in areas with high outdoor air pollution. The study also claimed that intellectual disability is more common among children living in socio-economically deprived areas which tend to have higher levels of air pollution, reports IANS.

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