Reading the UP result
The Samajwadi Partys victory in Uttar Pradesh has been generally welcomed in the Urdu press. The daily Inquilab,published from Mumbai,Delhi,Lucknow,Kanpur and Bareilly,writes on March 11: Every Muslim firmly believes that the government to be formed under Akhilesh Yadav will put an end to the injustices meted out to minorities. After the SP assuming power,UP Muslims have begun to feel that they do not have to live in the shadow of fear… that Akhilesh Yadav will not become a part of the global conspiracy that sends young Muslims to jails under false allegations of terrorism.
In an editorial on March 13,the paper writes: Along with the correct decision not to take D.P. Yadav,it was the partys strategy to make Akhilesh Yadav and not Mulayam Singh declare the commitment to keeping goonda elements out. The partys effort to change its image was behind Akhileshs emergence as the new face of the campaign,without any (public) claim or assertion to this effect.
Rashtriya Sahara,in a cautious analysis on March 10,writes: If the SP victory is a result of their new political consciousness,the Muslims of UP do indeed deserve praise and congratulations. But one has to stop and think. Did the Muslims give such massive support to the SP under some conditions or it was unconditional? … If the Muslims of UP put their faith in the election manifesto promises,it certainly cannot be seen as the awakening of their political consciousness,as no party looks back at its manifesto after coming to power.
Delhi-based daily Jadeed Khabar writes (March 12): If Mulayam Singh wants to play a leading role in national politics,he will have to act with far-sightedness and strategy. He will also have to shoulder the responsibility of properly governing UP because Akhilesh,despite his popular appeal,has no experience of governance. The paper also expresses concern about the reports of lawlessness coming from the state.
Dont blame NGOs
Commenting on the PMs controversial remarks on American interests,via NGOs,driving the agitations against nuclear power plants and biotechnology in food,Hyderabads leading daily,Munsif,writes in a February 29 editorial: It is not that protests against the hazards in nuclear reactors are being held in India alone. Such protests have also been seen in other countries. Putting the NGOs opposing these plants in the dock,rather than credibly addressing suspicion of nuclear hazards,is no solution.
On the Jaitapur protests,Rashtriya Sahara writes in its editorial on March 3: Those opposing the Jaitapur plant were not just illiterate or half-educated fishermen and farmers; many highly educated persons were also with them. All over the world,such campaigns include locals as well as foreigners and NGOs for whom preservation of life and the environment are more important than development. Now,when globalisation is favoured everywhere,it appears odd that when talk of national and foreign factors is brought up to talk of vested interests.
Most papers have reported the protests against the arrest of freelance journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi for his alleged role in the bombing of an Israeli diplomats car last month. But very few have written an editorial yet.
Inquilabs editor writes,in a signed column on March 10: The manner in which Kazmis arrest has been reported in Israeli newspapers gives the impression that he had been marked by Israeli intelligence agencies for some time now. Israel has long felt that it is necessary to silence the Urdu press so that the Indian government can be fully brought into the Israeli camp. So far,Israel has not been able to compel the Indian government to break its relations with Iran. That is why newer conspiracies are being hatched…
The paper adds: The mention of a journalists name in the Delhi blast has caused concern,and it is being asked whether this is a conspiracy to muzzle Urdu journalists; if this arrest is part of the global conspiracy to threaten journalists writing against Israel.
No helmet,no namaz
According to a report (March 1) in the daily Siasat,published from Hyderabad and Bangalore,there is a mosque in the city where entry without wearing a helmet is prohibited. Situated in a military area,the 400-year-old Jama Masjid Qutab Shahi Military Area First Lancer (as it is known) is very well maintained and namaz is offered regularly. It has a stock of 300 helmets for use by those without a helmet on Fridays,when there is a vast congregation. The newspaper report says that the helmet is necessary for two-wheeler riders entering the area,as part of military discipline. But why it is compulsory for those not using a two-wheeler is not made clear by the report.