Mainstream newspapers Tuesday lead with various follow-up stories on the violence in JNU Sunday. The Indian Express carries a six-column headline that highlights the inaction of the police, “Day after Delhi Police watched mob, not one arrest, no attacker identified”; The Times of India, too, focuses on the police with “Goons Had Free Run As Cops Awaited JNU Nod”; The Hindu goes with the demand for the Vice Chancellor’s immediate removal, “JNU students, staff want V-C removed” while Hindustan Times reports on the nationwide protests in support of JNU students with “Students stand with JNU”.
The announcement of Delhi Assembly election dates by the Election Commission also made it to Page 1.
Meanwhile, the economic newspapers like Economic Times and Business Standard lead with the drop in Sensex and the rupee due to the stand-off between Iran and US after the latter killed top Iranian army commander, General Qassem Soleimani, and the consequent rise in crude oil prices. HT and TOI also carry the story on their front pages.
JNU violence: Express, in its strap, notes that the police inaction in JNU is in “sharp contrast to action in Jamia”. It reports that the police “remained silent on how roughly 100 people were able to run riot inside the JNU campus”. In an accompanying piece, it notes that key BJP allies backed the students even as the BJP blamed the Opposition for the unrest.
HT posed “critical questions” to the police commissioner and the JNU VC about the violence while TOI writes that the police entered the campus at 7.45 pm even though the university called them at 4.30 pm. Accompanying reports in Express, TOI and HT note the police probe into WhatsApp groups that point to ABVP as suspects in the rampage.
Delhi polls: Delhi elections on 8 February hits the headlines but in different ways: TOI pits Modi and Kejriwal against each other while hinting at the absence of a chief ministerial candidate for BJP — “BJP banks on Modi magic to counter Kejri charisma”. It adds that the elections will be a “three-way showdown between AAP, BJP and Congress”.
HT in “Countdown begins for the pitched Capital contest“, focuses mainly on the battle between AAP and BJP, ignoring Congress completely. It notes that the elections set the stage for a “high-stakes political battle that will pitch” the AAP and the BJP and adds that the BJP has been out of power in Delhi for two decades.
Sensex drop: “Domestic equities slumped on Monday and posted their biggest fall in four months as investors dumped stocks amid worries about the impact of escalating US–Iran tensions on crude oil prices and its implications for the rupee and fiscal deficit,” reports Business Standard.
The Economic Times adds that “investors worry that rising crude prices, which crossed $70 a barrel, will stoke inflationary pressures and worsen the fiscal balance, crimping all efforts to revive the economy”.
Union Budget 2020-21: In an exclusive report, Express writes that the “Finance Ministry is likely to provide income tax relief to the middle class in the upcoming Union Budget 2020-21”. It adds that this is being done to boost consumption.
All major newspapers commented on Sunday’s JNU violence and they all criticized the Vice-Chancellor and the inaction of Delhi Police.
The Hindu: In ‘The Mask of Anarchy’, Hindu writes that JNU attacks “couldn’t have been carried out without the convenience of those in power”. The police appeared to have given cover to the mob that “leisurely walked away with its abusive slogans”. It targets Hindutva and the current BJP-led government and says it’s not hard to see the faces behind the masks of those involved in the attacks. Charges against RSS and ABVP are credible, it says.
The Indian Express: In ‘Power to the Goon‘, Express argues that the attacks are the outcome of demonising the university and its faculty over a period of time by those in power. It targets the government saying the mob was empowered by the government. The narrative of anti-nationals and the tukde-tukde gang has been woven by BJP government to vilify the university, writes Express. How long it will take for these mobs to convert to lynch bands, it asks.
Hindustan Times: In ‘The Darkness of Sunday Night‘, HT outlines the details of incident and says the VC failed to end the controversy over fee hike, HRD Ministry failed to provide leadership and Delhi Police failed by being “at worst an active enabler of the violence”. The newspaper demands the resignation of the VC. It adds that the HRD Ministry must get some independent figure as VC and the Delhi Police must arrest the culprits.
Times of India: TOI blames the VC and the Delhi Police in ‘Unmask this’. It writes that JNU has allowed a “tense standoff between university administration and left-backed student union to linger for long”. It adds that the failures of the police “poorly reflect on the union home ministry”. The newspaper concludes that fear should not enter likes of JNU, Jamia and AMU as they are India’s best hope for braving various challenges.
The JNU violence and Delhi elections were the two trending topics on prime time debates. On ‘The Newshour’, Times Now discussed ‘Discipline vs dissent’ and posed the question, “Will PM Modi tolerate campus politics?”
On NDTV 24/7, anchor Sreenivasan Jain asked who was behind the JNU violence. Meanwhile, Zee News claimed that Left parties initiated the violence.
Times Now, News X, Republic and India TV played out many videos as proof of claim and counter claim by the Left and ABVP in what CNN News 18 called `blame game.
Anchors took different stances.
Republic TV: On ‘Prime Time’, anchor Arnab Goswami described Sunday’s incidents as “extreme brutality of the left”. Goswami said that video evidence made it “absolutely clear” that it was the left who physically assaulted students “whose only fault was that they wanted to give their examinations”.
JNU Students Union leader Gaurav asked if the Delhi police was then supporting left students, “Were they supporting left students to attack left students itself?”
BVP student leader Siddharth said, “Be it Jadavpur, Kerala, or JNU where there is left, they resort to violence”.
India Today: However, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai asked his panelists, “Why were these masked men with sticks and rods going to attack Left students if they were Left students themselves? Was this an attack of revenge. Yes or no?” in ‘News Today’.
ABVP’s Rahul Chaudhary said that no ABVP member, aside from their JNU unit, was inside campus during the attacks.
“Why were street lights of Munirka closed?” asked eyewitness Shreya Ghosh, while JNU Professor Surajit Mazumdar said that the teachers’ association is positive that the identity of the goons was known to the JNU administration, as it was “not possible for them to enter and get shelter in university campus” otherwise.
BJP spokesperson Sudesh Verma spoke directly to JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who was also on the panel, and said that it was possible that she was hit by a goon who was trying to settle ideological differences with the Modi government.
He and Ghosh got into a heated argument before Sardesai stepped in and asked the producer to cut the sound. “A girl has been beaten up brutally, and now is being accused of leading the mob. Why is no one questioning the JNU administration, and the government?” he concluded.
ABP: Anchor Shobhna Yadav presented the C Voter ABP opinion poll. According to this AAP will win 59 seats, BJP 8 and Congress 3.
Yadav called this a “bumper win” for AAP. She called out the BJP for conveniently using Modi’s face to playing the electoral game in Delhi.
BJP spokesperson Ashish Sood was confident that Delhi’s people would demand accountability and vote for his party.
NDTV India: On JNU, anchor Ravish Kumar questioned the ABVP’s stance of being the ‘victim’ in the incident. Since the ABVP denied the goons were from their organisation, Kumar where had the come from — the JNU jungle where they cut the branches they used for merry making (amod pramod).
An ABVP student, Manish Jangid claimed that ABVP students who were injured weren’t given proper treatment at AIIMS. He went on to claim that the hospital staff dressed up unhurt people as patients because Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s was about to arrive there.
Keeping a straight face, Kumar commented, “If you understand the ‘theatrology’, you will definitely understand the chronology”. He wrapped up by saying “this is a story of violence which has no chronology”.