New Delhi: The looming threat and entry of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in India remained the focal point of the Urdu media for much of the week, even as the virus fought for space with agitating MPs during the Winter Session of the Parliament and the increasing political activity in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
ThePrint brings you a wrap of what Urdu newspapers focussed on this week.
The news of the new Covid variant first appeared on the front pages of Urdu dailies on 27 November and remained there for most of the week. Alongside its report on the chaos and fear surrounding the variant, Inquilab on that day also carried a short inset on the effect of the virus on the world markets.
On 1 December, three newspapers — Siasat, Inquilab and Roznama Rashtriya Sahara —carried news about the Omicron variant on the front page, highlighting the fact that India was still safe from the virus. But that changed Friday, 3 December, when Siasat and Inquilab carried on the front page the news about the first two cases of the variant being detected in Karnataka.
In its editorial on 28 November, Sahara highlighted the need to stay prepared, quoting the common phrase that prevention is better than cure. On the same day, Inquilab in its editorial talked about the importance of pandemic control measures in light of the new strain, while keeping the impact on the economy in mind. In another editorial on 2 December, Sahara emphasised the importance of going by science in dealing with the pandemic instead of banking on restrictive options or lockdown.
Also read: ‘Bruce Lee assault’ — ICMR official explains why Covaxin may have edge against Omicron
Winter Session & Constitution Day
The ups and downs of the Winter Session of Parliament expectedly remained on page one, including prominent coverage of the Opposition agitation against the suspension of 12 MPs. News related to the Constitution Day celebrations on the weekend of 26 November — was on the front pages of all three aforementioned newspapers on 27 November — as also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments about dynastic politics.
In its editorial on the same day on PM’s comment, Sahara made the point that democracy is not just about winning elections, it also has to do with individual freedoms and the government should evaluate its own performance. On 30 November, Inquilab published an editorial on the importance of making the knowledge of the Constitution more widespread.
BJP ally National People’s Party’s demand in the all-party meeting for the repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) also got prominence on the front pages. In its editorial on 29 November, Sahara wrote that while the session is expected to be stormy, the all-party meeting, in recent years, has been reduced to a mere formality.
Also read: Parliament a Bill-passing factory under Modi govt. Suspending Opposition MPs proves it
Mann ki Baat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in his November Mann Ki Baat that he is in politics to do service and not to seek power for himself was on the front page both of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara and Siasat on 29 November.
The Uttar Pradesh elections may be some months away but political developments in the state have already started making front page headlines. On 3 December, Siasat led with the news of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s Moradabad rally, where she accused Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of being busy with the politics of religion. On 2 December, Inquilab in its editorial wrote that the ideal situation would have been for the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress to come together in the state to form a secular front but there is no chance of that. The newspaper argued that given the high level of public dissatisfaction against the Yogi govt that has come out in surveys, SP’s chances of forming a govt cannot altogether be denied.
On 2 December, Inquilab played up on its Page 1 the statement of UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya about preparations to build a temple in Mathura, claimed to be the birthplace of Krishna. The paper wrote that despite his administrative post, Maurya seems to be attempting to attract his core Hindu vote bank regardless of the implications for law and order in the state.
A day earlier, the front page of the newspaper carried an article about the BJP‘s decision to hold a congregation of saints in Varanasi for which the Prime Minister himself would send them invites. It also played up Mayawati‘s statement that Muslims in UP are being deliberately saddled with false cases.
The cancellation of the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) examination in the state almost half an hour into the test because of a paper leak made it to the front page of both Sahara and Inquilab on 29 November. On 2 December, the front page of Inquilab carried news of the arrest of Sanjay Upadhyay, the chief of the exam regulatory authority by the UP STF, in the TET paper leak case.
Munawar Faruqui & Sharjeel Imam
The continuous harassment of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was highlighted by Urdu dailies on multiple occasions. In its editorial on 1 December, Inquilab said Faruqui’s decision to bid goodbye to performances is not the right course to take. It argued that many people take poetic lessons in society and politics from performers and without them, the society would become hollow. On 2 December, Inquilab also carried a short report on the front page about the cancellation of comedian Kunal Kamra’s show.
On 29 November, the front page of Inquilab and Sahara carried news of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to JNU student Sharjeel Imam. Sharjeel was charged with sedition for his speeches during the anti-CAA protests. On 2 December, Sahara on its front page, wrote about the Delhi High Court seeking a reply from the police on Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)
Also read: ‘Hate has won’ — Munawar Faruqui hints at quitting comedy as ‘12 shows cancelled in 2 months’