The bid to “strengthen the NIA” and the debate on the bill has received the attention of Urdu dailies.
An editorial in Inquilab on July 17 argues that giving more powers to the NIA is problematic. It asks, “What are the negative and positive dimensions of this?” It describes the debate on the matter in the Lok Sabha as unmindful of Parliament’s “stature and traditions”. The paper writes that “the Home Minister told an MP, a representative of India’s largest minority, that ‘you are scared’ of the bill…when he should have been trying to win the confidence of the minorities”.
This, the paper points out, gave a terrible impression of India to the world outside. “We need to understand that strong laws don’t end the problem, if the enforcers are not good. The best and the most fair of laws go after the most disadvantaged…The trend of doing everything in the name of national interest must be pushed back. Else, the country and its people will have to suffer serious consequences.”
Munsif on the same day also dwells on the NIA. It says with just six MPs voting against the amendments, a far stronger NIA will come into force. The paper says there is “fear that in the name of the law, innocents will be made victims..POTA should not be repeated.” The paper notes that the home minister has said that “the government will not allow innocents to be hurt, but doodh ka jala, chanchh ko phi phoonk ke peeta hai (once bitten, twice shy). It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the vastly enhanced powers of the NIA are not abused.”
Etemad, the Hyderabad-based daily of the AIMIM speaks of the “misuse of the TADA and POTA in the past” (July 17). “Our experience is that people’s religious identity does play a part in them being charged for terror. The NIA getting more powers is worrying. If the government is serious about tackling terror, it must not see the accused in the Hindu versus Muslim frame, but purely through the lens of law and order. But that does not seem possible.”
The paper concludes: “The NIA is now stronger to fight terror. But when the terror-accused are discharged, the government does not appeal. This reveals its two-faced nature”.
The government’s first budget has been received with disappointment. Sahara’s editorial on July 9 focuses on the share bazaar taking a massive hit.
Inquilab’s editorial on July 7 is titled; “What does the budget have? Nothing much.” It elaborates: “There is nothing for tackling unemployment. And this coming from party that was voted to office in 2014 on the promises of creating two crore jobs a year. After re-election, it carries noting for the youth.” The paper comes down sharply on what it calls, “conditional talk”. The argument that if investments rise, jobs will also increase is flawed, the paper contends.
Siasat on July 6 speaks of the budget “ignoring some important sections such as the middle-classes and the minorities”. The Budget doesn’t have new plans or new schemes. “Jumlas have been focused on to try and make the budget attractive but it has ignored the expectation and hopes of the masses,” the paper argues.
Munsif on July 11 speaks of the “lust for power” in Karnataka. Siasat has carried a series of editorials on the issue. Its editorial on July 7 predicts that “Operation Kamala is nearing completion”. On July 10 it talks about “the end of political values”. On July 13 it has another edit which argues that the “political tug of war must end”.
There is anguish on the problems faced by the Congress. Munsif on July 13 talks about the “Gandhi family’s ‘self-destructive’ strategy.” It holds that “the Gandhi family cannot leave the party mid-stream and cannot escape ts responsibilities. Today, the country needs a strong opposition like never before..In being stubborn, the Gandhi family could help the BJP realise its dream of Congress-free India.” It elaborates: “What is happening in Karnataka and Goa can spread to other states.”
Siasat on July 9 talks about the 1990s, “when (PV Narasimha) Rao controlled the Congress but after the demolition of the Banbri Masjid, there was a question mark over the Congress’ future.” The paper speaks of the two groups within the party, one close to the “Hindu right-wing and another close to the Nehruvian secularism.” It speaks of the “several mistakes” made by senior leaders that hurt the party and how the party finds itself “speechless in the face of Modi.
The portrayal of cricket as war was criticised by the Munsif the day after the cricket World Cup semi-final, which India lost. The paper is critical of the home minister invoking the “surgical strikes” to describe India’s victory against Pakistan. It says the use of war rhetoric in sports puts unnecessary pressure on the teams and also leads to demonisation of Indian Muslims. It criticises a section associating Prime Minister Narendra Modi with India’s World Cup campaign.
Compiled by Seema Chishti