New Delhi: All eyes were on prime minister Narendra Modi’s three-country tour of Europe this week, even as loudspeakers and hate speeches continued to make domestic headlines. But inflation and rising fuel prices also remained a concern in the Urdu press.
ThePrint brings you a wrap of what’s making headlines this week in the Urdu papers.
PM Modi’s Europe visit
On 2 May Inquilab reported that PM Modi will be visiting Germany, Denmark and France to attend several meetings and events. In a report on page one the following day, the paper reported that India and Germany were keen to expand and strengthen their strategic partnership, to create an open and peaceful relationship and ensure post-Covid economic growth and sustainability, mobility and clean energy. It also wrote that the two countries had decided to increase cooperation in the Pacific region and that these decisions were taken at the 7th Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultative Meeting, which Modi co-chaired with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz.
In a front page report on 5 May, Inquilab reported that Modi had arrived in the French capital, Paris, the day before, and met French President Emmanuel Macron and that the two leaders had discussed bilateral issues.
An editorial published in Roznama Rashtriya Sahara the same day claimed that the main purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit was to promote cooperation in various fields, with European partners. It added that only time will tell how fruitful the Prime Minister’s visit will be, as the visit comes at a time when Europe is facing many challenges.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has lasted more than two months, but so far there is no sign of reconciliation, the editorial pointed out. It added that sanctions imposed against Russia by other Western countries, including the United States, have had no effect on curbing the prolonged violence. Ukraine, meanwhile, is desperate for help from NATO nations.
In a page one article published on 5 May, Siasat reported PM Modi had hosted the second India-sponsored event in Denmark, and attended the Nordic Summit, after which he travelled to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on the last day of his three-nation tour of Europe.
Also read: Modi’s trip shows India & EU can grow closer despite differences on Russia’s Ukraine invasion
Rise in LPG, fuel prices
On 2 May, Sahara led its front page coverage with a report on the rising price of LPG and aviation fuel.
In a seven-column flyer, the paper wrote that commercial cylinder prices have gone up by Rs 102.50 and the 19-litre cylinder would now cost Rs 2355.50. On 5 May, the paper while reporting about the RBI’s emergency decision to hike repo rates, wrote that the decision is expected to tame inflation.
On 2 May, Inquilab in an editorial on cooperative federalism in the context of the tussle between centre and states, following the Prime Minister’s appeal to opposition ruled states to reduce VAT on fuel prices, wrote that all governments are wary of revenue loss. While the Centre has the last word on many issues, but this comes with additional responsibility. The paper wrote that if the Centre adopts a friendlier approach and tries to understand the compulsions of the states, coordination between the two sides would improve.
Reports about power crisis fuelled by coal shortages remained on the front pages of Urdu newspapers through the week.
On 6 May, Sahara carried on the front page Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement that Delhi would make power subsidy optional from October.
India’s eight place fall to the 150th rank in the Press Freedom Index received frontpage coverage in Inquilab on 5 May. In a related editorial the paper alleged that while questions have been asked in the past too about the freedom of the press in India, in the past few years, it has been apparent that the government of the day is not in favour of independent functioning of the media and has taken to myriad ways, including threats and legal action, to stop journalists who try to expose its shortcomings.
The paper further claimed that six journalists have been killed in India this year, while 121 journalists and media outlets have been attacked.
In a different context — that of the now stayed observations of a court in Assam on the arrest of Congress MLA Jignesh Mewani — Siasat in an editorial published on 1 May wrote that in India it was now routine for anyone critical of the government to be either abused on television as a traitor, or sent to jail on frivolous and often trumped up charges.
The row over loudspeakers
On 6 May, Siasat carried on its front page a report on a decision by Mumbai mosques to shun loudspeakers for the azan for the first namaaz of the day, at dawn. On 2 May Sahara reported that at the direction of Maulana Arshad Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind — an organisation of Islamic scholars of the Deoband school of thought — a delegation visited two riot-hit areas of Khargone, Maharashtra to ascertain the facts.
The paper claimed that after talking to victims and locals, the delegation had found that initially there was a difference of opinion between the administration and those in-charge of a Ram Navami procession being taken out, on its route and timing. According to it, most of those taking out the procession were adamant about its passing through the region’s Muslim areas. It was this which reportedly led the police to lathi-charge the procession, prompting them to retaliate by throwing stones.
On 5 May, Inquilab carried a front page article on how Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s calls against the use of loudspeakers in mosques and reciting of the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques had been thwarted by the police.
The paper claimed that though MNS workers in some places in Mumbai and its suburbs had tried to play the Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers in front of mosques, the police had taken timely action and confiscated the loudspeakers and detained the MNS workers.
On 5 May, Sahara and Inquilab carried front page articles on an alleged incidence of communal violence in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur, adding that according to the police there the situation was now under control.
There were also writings on other law and other issues in the papers.
In a front page article on 5 May Siasat reported that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi had said that under Yogi Adityanath’s government, the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has been drowned by the noise of bulldozers (a reference to the use of bulldozers by the state government to demolish alleged illegal constructions and encroachments) and that women are not safe even in police stations.
Both Inquilab and Siasat carried front page stories on WHO’s COVID mortality report which claimed that India had an estimated 47 lakh Covid deaths. On 3 May Inquilab also reported on the front page the Supreme Court statement that no Indian could be forced to be vaccinated against Covid.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
Also read: Indian govt ‘strongly contests’ WHO’s estimates of Covid deaths, questions its model