Various aspects of the India-Pakistan stand-off in the wake of the Pulwama attack — the Indian attack on the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot, the subsequent Pakistani action, the Indian plane falling along with its pilot, Abhinandan, on the other side of the LoC — were robustly covered.
Urdu Times on March 2, has an editorial titled ‘Abhinandan ka abhinandan’. Roznama Rashtriya Sahara has an editorial titled ‘Abhinandan ka matlab’ on March 3.
On the same day, Siasat writes on the events in an editorial titled ‘Pilot Abhinandan ki watan waapsi’. The paper writes that his homecoming is a matter of great delight for the entire country. But, it says, in the forthcoming general elections, this incident can be used to raise temperatures. It also notes that “instead of seeing this as a goodwill gesture by Imran Khan, the Modi government has played it cool and kept a distance.” The editorial praises the fortitude and calm of Wing Commander Abhinandan in how he conducted himself when in Pakistan’s custody, and also remarks that the Pakistanis did not treat him like they would have treated any other person. The paper regrets, though, that despite there being an opportunity to lower temperatures between the two countries and undertaking steps and measures to improve the situation, that does not appear to be happening.
Siyasi Taqdeer on March 4, writes in an editorial titled ‘Agar Rafale hota to’: “…but the bombardment proved effective and terrorists were killed. Then why remember Rafale?” The fact is, writes the paper, that deaths were exaggerated while the Armed Forces did not provide any specific number of casualties. The point is: “How did media report the huge numbers?” Hamara Samaj, on March 5, opines: “Now people think the BJP is politicising terror and air-strikes. Why, when the Opposition is asking for figures, is there a mysterious silence? By withholding information, the BJP is falling in its own trap.”
Hind Samachar , in its March 5 editorial, speaks of conflicting claims regarding the toll from the cross-border strikes emanating from different leaders of the BJP, including ministers. It writes: “While one BJP minister said no terrorist was killed, BJP president Amit Shah is saying that 250 terrorists were killed.”
Siasat on March 6 has written scathingly of “politicians trying to milk the air-strikes”. It writes that “the awaam, or common people, know that blood is being drawn in an attempt to win votes. but in several elections, people have taught a lesson to those who try this.” In an apparent reference to leaders like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the Margdarshak Mandal it writes: “Leaders who used phrases like terror, Hindu-Muslim, Rath Yatra and Jihad to improve political prospects are now in the political dustbin. The same fate can befall the current leaders.” The paper says its warning is for those who bear the burden of “forty dead CRPF jawans and those who played politics, celebrating thousands of Muslim dead.” The paper feels that the recent tensions will further weakened India’s borders in the long run. “If the current ruse to politicise by using this works in these elections, then, the security of our borders will come down further, in future.”
On the economy
Inquilab on March 5 writes on “economic issues and the changed political narrative”. In June 2018, it writes, the GDP growth rate was 8.2 per cent and on this basis, it was said this India is among the fastest-growing economies. Now, the statistics have been questioned and the growth rate has slipped to 7.1 per cent and may fall further to 6 per cent, which, with oil prices set to rise internationally, will prove to be a big blow to India’s economy.
Etemaad, the mouthpiece of the AIMIM writes, in an editorial on February 25: “The Kisan scheme of the Centre may appear useful but niyat main khot hai (the intentions are dubious).” The paper elaborates that if the intention of this government was to be “pro-Kisan”, as it keeps proclaiming, why wait till the end of its term to do this? If the government was serious, then why did it not respond when, recently, so many farmers in a massive agitation came to Delhi to protest? If it was serious, the government “would have done this earlier, so many farmers would have benefited and the thousands who committed suicide in that time could have been saved.”
Compiled by Seema Chishti