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‘Will fight till my mother comes home’— Mufti’s daughter (India Today), brickbats for Rahul

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Newspapers Thursday are in agreement on their lead story — the Supreme Court’s decision to constitute a five-judge Constitution bench to hear petitions challenging the withdrawal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Times of India headlines: “Constitution bench to examine legality of J&K’s altered status,” while The Hindu says, “5-judge SC bench to hear pleas on withdrawal of Article 370.” The Indian Express writes, “Larger SC Bench will hear pleas against J&K move,” and Hindustan Times says, “5-judge SC bench to hear J&K challenge”.

HT says that the bench “will hear in October a bunch of petitions challenging the scrapping of Article 370.” The SC also “brushed aside objections by the Centre, issuing a notice to the government to respond to the pleas,” it adds.

Express notes the Centre’s pleas to not issue a notice as “it will have cross-border repercussions and statements made here will be sent to the United Nations” were “overruled” by the Supreme Court.

TOI, meanwhile, quotes Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and solicitor general Tushar Mehta, “We will take a copy of the petitions and file our response.

Express in `Inside leaders’ lockdown: Frazzled nerves, hunger strike threat and huddle in a hotel’’ describes the predicament of the detained local leaders in J&K. It says the once powerful elite of the Valley “feel pushed against the wall in ways more than one…’’ Based on interviews with officials and detainees’ relatives, it reveals the Catch 22 situation they face: in the words of one interviewee, they have two options: “One is to resist….The other option is to wait it out and see what happens.’’

Rules eased for FDI

The other big news is the government’s latest moves on the economic front.

Express’s headline says, “Doors open for 100% FDI in coal mining, contract manufacturing”. The Union Cabinet “cleared the proposal to ease the local-sourcing norms for single-brand retailers,” in addition to “allowing 100 per cent foreign investment in coal mining and contract manufacturing,” it writes.

In its ‘Explained’ box, Express writes the latest measures “come on the back of the stimulus announced last week”. The Hindu highlights that the FDI policy says a “single-brand retail company with more than 51% FDI needs to source 30% of its goods from within India.” The new decision says that “this 30% can be calculated over the first five years of operation”.

TOI writes that the decision is aimed at “high-profile businesses” to help “international players such as Japanese retailer Uniqlo, which can now hope to undertake online sales for two years while it opens its retail outlets”.


HT and Hindu report the suspension of the British Parliament. PM Boris Johnson “threw Brexit opponents’ tactics into disarray by securing Queen Elizabeth’s consent to cut short the forthcoming parliament session, virtually making it impossible for them to stymie his Brexit plans,” writes HT.


HT: In ‘The unanimity on Pakistan’, it uses Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s latest tweets to discuss the solidarity across parties on the political divide in asserting Kashmir as an internal issue. Though the Modi government’s abrogation of Article 370 caused a stir, explains HT, Pakistan should not exploit the “internal fault lines” of Indian politics. Since the move on Kashmir, Pakistan has “stepped up its rhetoric” on India as a “fascist” state, while it has been involved in the “sponsorship of terrorism” over the last 30 years. PM Modi’s brand of nationalism has helped depict India as “a strong state” with zero tolerance for terrorism and Pakistan “would do well to know that it faces a united India”, writes HT.

TOI: The West Bengal government’s plan to make lynching a punishable offence with life imprisonment and a Rs 5-lakh fine is “a step in the right direction”, writes TOI, but to ensure its enforcement will be a task. ‘In Defeat Mobocracy’, TOI delves into the implications of mob lynching, its communal subtext, its blot on India’s tourism and most importantly, that it is often a “cops vs vigilantes battle” that indicates weak law and order.

Bengal’s move followed after Manipur’s and Rajasthan’s, suggesting states are more inclined to anti-lynching laws despite the Centre’s stance that enforcing “existing laws will suffice”.

Prime Time

Rahul Gandhi was the hot topic of debate on Wednesday’s prime time after Pakistan’s letter to the United Nations on Jammu and Kashmir quoted his earlier remarks about alleged human rights violations in the Valley. Gandhi was quick to state that Kashmir was India’s internal matter.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with Rajdeep Sardesai on India Today, Sana Iltija Mufti, Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, said, “I think my mother would want me to talk about the plight of the people of Kashmir…I am pretty sure she won’t get my message, she has no access…” she said.

“A message written on a scroll and tied to a pigeon will reach her faster than this video. I am going to fight till my mother comes back home, safely,” she said.

CNN-News 18: On ‘Face Off’ with Zakka Jacob, Rahul Gandhi’s statement was discussed.

BJP’s R.P. Singh said, “Why did Rahul Gandhi say that people are being killed in J&K? Being a leader of the Opposition he has to be responsible.”

“They have all the rights to criticise the government and its policies, but not to spread fake news,” he added.

Political analyst Ravi Srivastava pointed out that BJP’s Manohar Lal Khattar and Vimal Saini were also mentioned in Pakistan’s letter. “Four deaths due to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism have been reported from Kashmir, but no death certificates have been issued,” he claimed.

Republic TV: Anchor Arnab Goswami called Rahul Gandhi “the poster boy, the mascot, the means for Pakistan”.

Political analyst Abdul Razack Khan asked, “Why are we so obsessed with Pakistan? Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee was quoted by Pakistan.”

“Why can’t we question the government? We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship,” he added.

ANI editor Smita Prakash said, “…the government is not saying everything is normal, they are working towards normalcy”.

Political analyst and secretary of Muslim Personal Law Board, Ahmed Ayaz said: “The Opposition has a right to ask the questions…and it is the responsibility of the government to respond.”

Aaj Tak: On ‘Halla Bol’ with Anjana Om Kashyap, BJP’s Shahnawaaz Hussain condemned Rahul Gandhi’s comments. “Country is greater than any individual or party. When Narasimha Rao went to the UN regarding the Kashmir issue, Atal Bihari Vajpayee went with him as a leader of the delegation and put forth India’s position in strong words”.

Political analyst Chetan Singh defended Gandhi, saying this was psychological war by Pakistan. “Why do you have to pay attention to what Pakistan is saying?’’ he asked.

Columnist and former AAP leader Ashutosh questioned the mainstream Indian media. “Indian media doesn’t know the real situation of Kashmir. Let the state function normally, let the media go there and report. We’ll see what the truth is then,” he said.

India TV: On ‘Kurukshetra’, anchor Sushant Sinha wondered whether Gandhi’s statement has already done the damage.

Retd Major General Bishamber Dayal said: “An international body has no say on the Kashmir issue and hence what Pakistan says to the UN, quoting Rahul Gandhi, will not make much of a difference.”

To this, Col Tej Tikku (retd) replied, “Pakistan wants to internationalise the issue. They are doing everything they can to attract the world’s attention to the Kashmir dispute. In such a case, the statement by Rahul Gandhi has already made it easier for Pakistan.”

“Rahul Gandhi’s politics is beyond our understanding,” commented BJP’s Amit Malviya. “He doesn’t realise that outside the country every leader should stand by the nation.”

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