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‘Bulli Bai’ outcry, PM’s security breach, Lakhimpur chargesheet — Page 1 news from Urdu press

ThePrint’s round-up of how the Urdu media covered various news events through the week, and the editorial positions some of them took.

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New Delhi: As yet another attempt to denigrate Muslim women online emerged in the midst of an ongoing tussle about hate speeches made at a religious congregation in Haridwar and protests about namaz in Haryana, Urdu newspapers took strong positions on the Bulli Bai app case, one of them even calling out a Union minister for “communalisation”.

The papers also reported the details of the heated political exchange around the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Punjab visit to attend an event in Ferozepur. Not only did the Urdu papers report the incident, and the political blame game that followed, in detail, but at times gave twists to the story that favoured one aspect of the narrative over another.

ThePrint brings you its weekly roundup of what made front page news in Urdu newspapers, in what has been a very newsy week, and the editorial stances taken on these by some prominent newspapers.

Outcry over ‘Bulli Bai’ app

The ‘Bulli Bai’ app and its “politicisation”, closely following the alleged hate speeches made at the Dharam Sansad in Uttarakhand, remained the focus of the front pages of Urdu newspapers throughout the week. On 3 January, Inquilab wrote that the lack of action on a similar website last year, ‘Sulli Deals’, had encouraged a repeat of the crime. A day later Roznama Rashtriya Sahara reported the “outcry”.

In its 5 January editorial, Inquilab wrote that the crimes are a result of people’s inability to accept informed, well-argued opinions from Muslim women and is a direct result of vitiation of the atmosphere with slogans like “goli maro…” and hate speech at so called religious gatherings.

In a front page opinion piece on 7 January, the paper condemned what it called Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s attempt to make the issue of the app into a tussle between Hindus and Muslims, saying his claims of similar crimes against Hindu women is unsubstantiated. The paper also carried a front page story about an open letter from prominent citizens, including retired bureaucrats and diplomats, about the lack of action against hate speech in the Dharam Sansad.

Roznama, in its 6 January, editorial wrote that young boys and girls were being used for this conspiracy against Muslims.

PM security breach

The security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Punjab visit this week, the subsequent war of words between the Centre and the state government, and the constitution of two inquiry committees by the two governments, played out on page one through the week.

On 6 January, all three newspapers — Inquilab, Roznama and Siasat — carried the news on the front page, but Siasat gave a headline with a twist. It wrote: “Security breach drama! Modi did not go to Ferozepur because there were no crowds in the rally ground.” A day later Roznama led with the meeting between PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind on the incident. On 7 January, Inquilab carried on its front page a story about the Supreme Court agreeing to urgently hear a petition on the matter.

Also read: What led to PM security breach? Experts say ‘lack of preparedness or agencies’ miscommunication’

Lakhimpur Kheri chargesheet

The filing of a 5,000-page chargesheet against Ashish Mishra, son of Union MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra Teni in the Lakhimpur Kheri case was the lead in both Sahara and Inquilab on 4 January. In an interesting take in its editorial on 7 January, Inquilab clubbed MoS Mishra and Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik as two liabilities for the BJP — claiming that the two continuing in their respective capacities was causing the party embarrassment, while electoral considerations in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh make their removal difficult.

Malik had taken on PM Modi on the issue of the farmers’ agitation. His claims were also carried on the front page on 4 January by both Siasat and Roznama.

Covid cases

The rising Covid numbers, the onslaught of the Omicron variant and the vaccination campaign remained on the front pages for much of the week.

On 3 January, Inquilab carried a front page story about the government statement that media reports about India not meeting its year-end vaccination targets were misleading. A day later, Roznama carried a front page report about the Covid situation in Delhi, where it highlighted not just the case numbers but the high positivity of 6 per cent. The paper also said that there was a possibility of a lockdown being imposed.

It attempted to soothe frayed nerves in its editorial of the day where it made the point that the Omicron variant is thought to be not as deadly as Delta, but said that the need of the hour was caution. In its editorial on 1 January, Inquilab wrote that the year gone past began with one wave of Covid and ended with the threat of another with Omicron.

Concerns of unemployment

The rise in unemployment rates, according to data from private think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), was given prime space on the front pages. In its 6 January editorial, Inquilab argued that not only has India not taken any out-of-the-box measures to tackle the issue, but it has also chosen not to take lessons from others. The worrying aspect, it said, is the fact that people have now stopped looking for employment.

In another editorial — the second part of its 2022 wishlist — published on 3 January, the paper wrote that the need of the hour is to launch some path breaking initiatives such as UPA’s MNREGA to tackle unemployment, rather than wait for the economy to get better.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: There’s a boom in DIY Covid tests — what are they and how do they work


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