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PM’s Kashi visit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Saudi ban on Tablighi Jamaat — 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: Rumblings of a ban in faraway Saudi Arabia and the echoes of Opposition agitation in Parliament jostled for space in Urdu newspapers this week, alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi and the rising communal pitch in various parts of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

ThePrint brings you a round-up of what made it to the front pages and what editorial stances prominent newspapers took.

Lakhimpur Kheri violence

The SIT report that the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri was part of a pre-planned conspiracy was on the front pages of all Urdu dailies on 15 December. The following day, both Inquilab and Roznama Rashtriya Sahara carried report about the logjam in Parliament with the Opposition demanding that Union minister Ajay Mishra be sacked. Sahara, in its editorial that day, criticised the government for its refusal to sack Ajay Mishra and demanded that both he and his son Ashish Mishra should be tried in the case. Should the government apologise, the paper wrote, it would counter its image of being anti-farmer and can effectively silence the Opposition too.

Inquilab, in its editorial on the same day, said even if the three farm laws had not been withdrawn, the year-long farm protests had established precedents on how a long struggle can be carried out with consensus and the needs of all can be catered to through community efforts.

In its 17 December editorial, Inquilab asked when action will be taken against Ajay Mishra. The paper wrote that had pressure not been created, even Ashish Mishra would not have been arrested. It also made the point that while the government may escape a discussion in Parliament, it cannot escape the question of why Ajay Mishra should not be held equally responsible, since he threatened farmers during his speech just days before the incident.

In its 12 December editorial on the “historic win of farmers”, Inquilab wrote that there was a time in January 2021 when everybody thought the protests were over, but it was the tears of Rakesh Tikait that turned things around.

Also read: Lakhimpur Kheri violence was ‘pre-planned conspiracy causing death’, SIT says

Kashi Vishwanath corridor

Riding on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to his parliamentary constituency, the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor and puja at the temple, Varanasi remained on the front pages for much of the week. Both — the announcement about the inauguration and the actual event — held pride of place on 13 and 14 December in all Urdu dailies.

Sahara, in its 14 December editorial, framed the visit in the light of the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and the fact that the development work around the corridor necessitated the relocation of a few hundred people. Quoting from the PM’s speech, the paper asked if the BJP would henceforth perpetuate Kashi’s tradition of “love”. In its editorial on the same day, Inquilab wrote that the BJP is raising issues that are of concern of the majority religion in the country (that is Hindus), so as to make people forget the ground level issues such as inflation and price rise that are likely to cost it during the elections.

Also read: From Ayodhya to Kashi, BJP changed its strategy from ‘demolition’ to construction

Tablighi Jamaat

The news of Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban the Tablighi Jamaat as it is the “gateway to terrorism” ruffled feathers in its country of origin, India. The Urdu media was a reflection of those concerns. On 14 December, the lead report in Inquilab was a reaction story of several Muslim organisations in India protesting the ban and arguing that Saudi Arabia’s decision should not have any bearing on the Indian chapter of the organisation.

On 15 December, the page 1 story in Sahara quoted Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Arshad Madani as saying that Tablighi Jamaat is a religious, not a political organisation. He made the statement during a meeting with the Saudi ambassador. On 17 December, Sahara carried a small report on the front page about the VHP demanding a ban on the Tablighi Jamaat.

Trinamool Congress

In its attempts to become the pivot of an anti-BJP front, the Trinamool Congress seems to have met with a lukewarm response not just from the Opposition camp but from sections of the Urdu press as well.

In its 11 December editorial, Inquilab wrote that if in seven years the BJP’s dream of Congress-mukt Bharat has not been realised, how can Mamata Banerjee’s aspirations of Congress-mukt Opposition be realised? The privilege motion filed by party MPs against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was on the front page of the paper on 14 December.

On 16 December, the front page of Siasat carried a report on Mamata’s belligerent announcement that 2024 would be the end of the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. On 16 December, the Inquilab editorial was on Trinamool Congress and the “dressing down” to party MP Mahua Moitra by Mamata Banerjee. The paper said it was mere public posturing, and that had Banerjee been really angry with Moitra, she wouldn’t have appointed her as party’s Goa in-charge ahead of polls.

Also read: Poached leaders and anti-Modi rhetoric won’t be enough for TMC’s national goal in 2024


In its Page 1 story on 13 December, Inquilab said that by “celebrating” the Ayodhya verdict, former CJI Ranjan Gogoi has revealed his true colours. There was also an appeal from a Lucknow-based cleric for a large number of people to offer namaaz at the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, and a statement from Mahmood Madani that efforts are on to erase Muslim identity. The paper also carried on its front page an appeal from the All India Purohit Mahasabha to the Mathura administration to take stringent action against Hindu organisations trying to foment trouble around the Shahi Idgah.

On 11 December, the lead in both Inquilab and Siasat was about Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s statement that namaaz in open spaces would not be tolerated. The paper wrote that the CM had submitted to communal elements.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

Also read: ‘Senior Indian govt bureaucrat came and told me to go slow on NRC’: Ranjan Gogoi


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