Editorial analysis: Bulldozers run amok against rules-based law


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The Raisina Hills brings editorial analysis of five leading English newspapers of India.

The Friday protests against the remarks of the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Navin Jindal had witnessed stone-pelting incidents in parts of the country and afterwards the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government sent bulldozers against the alleged conspirators of the violence.

The Times of India, The Indian Express and Deccan Herald in their lead editorials titled ‘System Bull-Dazed’, ‘Demolition Squad’, and ‘Violent streets, arbitrary govts’ respectively have sharply criticized the UP government for bulldozing properties of the alleged conspirators of the Friday violence in Prayagraj and other cities.

The ToI stated “bulldozers are posing a challenge to constitutional rights”, questioning the silence of the higher judiciary when confronted with the unconstitutional use of force by the government. It slots UP, Tripura, Delhi, Assam, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in a bulldozer club, for their demolition drives. The editorial while noting that the property bulldozed in Pryagaraj was in the name of the wife of the accused, ToI lays emphasis on the argument that “guilt is being determined outside courts” while punishment is being meted out to the family of the accused in a throwback to the concept of collective punishment in the Middle Ages.

The editorial of ToI, however, falls short in balancing its views as it fails to mention the arguments and defence of the UP government over the bulldozer action.

The Indian Express also ran its editorial on the same theme while further expanding that the practice of ‘return gifts’ on Saturdays after Fridays is now a norm as it gave account of the demolition of properties of accused in Saharanpur and Prayagraj over the weekends.

The IE says bulldozers are being used for punishment and subdue, further arguing that the means is neither accidental nor incidental as since 2019 there had been indications of a new playbook.

Deccan Herald has also come down on the UP government in its editorial which states that “only houses belonging to protesters who are Muslims are being targeted while the illegality is not verified”.

The three newspapers missed out on condemning the Friday street violence, including attacks on the law-enforcement agencies, besides not commenting on worse than snail’s pace in judicial disposing of the litigations. They also failed to see that the violation of rule of law can only be corrected with judicial reform, which is not at all at the top of the priority of either the civil society or the Parliament.

The IF has called the former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s appearance before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday and the protest by his party leaders a ‘Sight & Sound Show’, wondering whether the notice of the investigating agency was the compelling cause for the party to hit the street. The editorial indeed takes the popular opinion that there are far more compelling issues to hit the street, including the bulldozer actions in UP, Nupur Sharma fiasco, inflation, while equating the Congress to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). This editorial again is short on analysis and fails to connect dots in the issue.

The Economic Times has shed light on the issue of the ageing population and challenges thereby. In ‘Senior Citizenry’, the ET while noting the life expectancy at birth of 69.4 years during 2015-19 period, which is behind 72.6 years global average, called for sustainable healthcare systems, improving accessibility of care and reducing incidence of preventable burden of disease. The editorial again remains short in flagging policy vacuum in the country as grey tsunami is fast becoming a reality even while the social and financial systems remain against the senior citizens.

The Hindu in its lead editorial ‘Beyond the numbers’ has dwelt upon the issue of dissension in the ranks of the BJP and the Congress in the backdrop of the Rajya Sabha elections. The editorial is essentially a news analysis that too delayed and short on probing its theme while going on to do the caste profiles of the candidates of the BJP and the Congress.

‘With an inflation dip, a welcome cushion’, the ET in its lead editorial mentioned the good news of the moderation in the inflationary trends as retail inflation came at 7.04 per cent but warned that the imported energy inflation can undo the gains made on account of the good Monsoon, cut in custom and excise duties, ban on export of wheat, while making a case for the government to further bring down the fuel prices.


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