New Delhi: Two tragedies — one in Nagaland and the other in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu — both involving the Army, remained top of the heap in the Urdu press this week, but the farmers’ decision to call off their year-long protests was also in sharp focus.
Tributes were paid to journalist Vinod Dua as the upholder of syncretic traditions, even as potential communal flare-ups in Mathura and an ongoing tussle in Gurugram made Page 1 of Urdu dailies.
ThePrint brings you a roundup of what made headlines in the Urdu press this week.
The botched Army operation in Nagaland that left 14 civilians dead, and the renewed demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), dominated the headlines for much of the week, having made its way to the front pages for the first time on 6 December. A day later, the FIR filed by the police in Mon district against 21st Paramilitary Force was on the front page of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara.
An editorial in Inquilab on 8 December called upon the government to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. Titled ‘Tragic murder’, the editorial asked why the Army contingent, instead of trying to arrest the men they thought were terrorists, started shooting at them. It asked if things are so bad in the state that in a residential area, the Army seems to be operating on a shoot-at-sight principle. The paper advocated that pressure be put on the central government to repeal AFSPA.
On 9 December, the Roznama Rashtriya Sahara editorial too took the same stand, making the point that police and the forces live on citizens’ taxes. Their job is to protect the people, but what happened in Nagaland was quite the opposite, it said.
CDS helicopter crash
The tragic helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and 13 others, including his wife, was on the front pages Thursday and Friday. Roznama Rashtriya Sahara’s profile on him on the front page, a day after the accident, described Rawat as upright and fearless.
In its editorial on 10 December, Inquilab prayed that God gives the families patience to deal with the tragedy, calling it a loss not just for the three forces but for the entire country.
Putin’s India visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brief India visit was prominently featured on the front pages, with strong editorial lines on the S-400 deal that has not gone down well with the US.
On 6 December, Roznama Rashtriya Sahara wrote that before imposing sanctions on account of the S-400 deal, the US will have to think about the implications for its plans for the region, given the rising economic heft of China. It wrote that the impending visit of Putin in the country in this backdrop is extremely significant.
Inquilab, in its editorial on 8 December, wrote about the importance of Russia in not just India’s defence arsenal but also the fact that it accounts for 65 per cent defence exports the world over.
The front pages of Urdu dailies on 7 December celebrated Putin’s visit and the 28 agreements signed between Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Inquilab making the point that despite many changes in international relations, the India-Russia friendship remains intact.
Mathura, Ayodhya and Gurugram
The tension in Mathura, not just in the wake of the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition but also the tweet by Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, remained the focus, as did the twists and turns in the ongoing controversy about namaaz at public places in Gurugram.
The “red alert” in Ayodhya and Mathura on the occasion of the anniversary of the Babri demolition was on the front pages of Urdu dailies. On 6 December, Inquilab’s front page carried a report on the tensions in Mathura after an announcement by the Hindu Mahasabha about ‘jal abhishek‘ at the Shahi Idgah.
Inquilab wrote on 4 December how Friday namaaz in Gurugram took place amid police protection, due to threats from Hindu groups. The front page on 8 December carried a report that an agreement had been reached between Muslim and Hindu groups in Gurugram on 18 sites for namaaz.
Compensation for farmers
On 4 December, Inquilab carried a report on its front page about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s offer to the government that if it did not know the names of the 700 farmers who had died during the farm protests, the Congress was willing to hand over the list.
The news about the formation of a committee on MSP was on the front page of Siasat on 5 December, with the point that the farm organisations had given the government an ultimatum of two days. Sahara’s lead report said that the organisations had sent a list of martyrs to the government.
In its editorial on 6 December, Inquilab slammed the government for its statement in Parliament that it does not have the list of farmers who died during the farm protests. Each family, the paper said, should get Rs 25 lakh.
Vinod Dua’s death
Reports on the death of journalist Vinod Dua were prominently carried on the front pages of all the newspapers.
In its editorial on 6 December, Inquilab wrote that Dua’s death had robbed the nation of a journalist who was a firm believer in the syncretic traditions of this country. Citing the sedition case against him and his victory, the paper wrote that before his death, he had defeated the trolls.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)