CORONA PACKAGE & CURBS ON CONGREGATIONS
SHRI RAM SHAW
Siasat, being published from Hyderabad, began its editorial with a couplet – ‘‘Din pareshan hai, raat bhari hai / Zindagi hai ki phir bhi pyari hai.’’ It wrote,‘‘Whatever packages the government has announced can initially be called a good beginning, but these steps can’t be sufficient. The relief announced for the country’s most vulnerable social class - the one that is hit the hardest in the prevailing circumstances - is not sufficient though, it is pretty passable.’’
Akhbar-e-Mashriq, Hamara Samaj, Inquilab, Urdu Times, Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, Munsif, Etemad –all have said in unison - People must co-operate government to make it a success and defeat the dreaded COVID-19. ‘‘Restricting congregations at mosques as protection from the novel virus is wholly expected as Islam ordains that the faithful should not intentionally expose themselves to life-threatening situations.’’
Akhbar-e-Mashriq a widely regarded as a balanced and sober Urdu daily published from Kolkata and New Delhi. On 28 March, it ran a front-page story with the banner headline, ‘‘Taqseem Mulk ke dauran hijrat ki yaad taaza ho gayi.’’ (With the tsunami of ghar wapasi by labourers after lockdown, the memory of exodus during emergency got revived). ‘‘Thousands of people set out for their native villages on foot putting luggage on their heads,’’ it wrote. However, the editorial was all praise for complete lockdown and curb on religious congregations at mosques. But, ironically, it (on 28 March) and Hindustan Express (on 25 March) published the same article written by Abid Anwar with the headline – ‘Huqoomat ne Corona ko Shaheen Bagh dharne ko hatane ke liye mauqe ke taur par istemal kiya’ (Government utilized corona as an opportune moment to remove the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh) on their Op-Ed pages.
Bloody havoc, in which 25 Sikhs were massacred, Dawn, Pakistan, wrote in its editorial, ‘‘Afghanistan is, of course, no stranger to violence, but the killings demonstrate that unless various contenders for power in the country get their act together, IS will exploit the vacuum of leadership to spread its tentacles further in the region.’’ It further wrote, ‘‘Unless the Kabul elite achieves some unity, the US peace deal with the Taliban will count for little as Afghan factions battle it out after the Americans leave. Such a situation will only favour IS and their ilk.’’
Condemning the latest gory incident, The Express Tribune, Pakistan, with the headline - ‘Bloodshed continues in Afghanistan’ wrote in its editorial, ‘‘At a time when face-to-face diplomacy has come to a near-halt due to coronavirus, the US is making hectic efforts to take the dialogue process to the next level to pave the way for pulling its troops out of Afghanistan as early as possible.
POSTPONEMENT OF TOKYO OLYMPICS
About the expected yet abrupt postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic due to the coronavirus, Dawn, Pakistan, said that it had left the world of sport in a state of severe disappointment. The editorial says, ‘‘Postponing the Olympics is the most rational decision in the given circumstances, since not only the lives of thousands of athletes and officials would be at stake, but also those of the estimated 40m visitors. The world must keep the Olympic dream alive and aim for an even bigger Olympic in 2021 to emerge triumphant from the current setback.’’
The Express Tribune, Pakistan, says, ‘‘As much as athletic wear manufacturers and sports pundits may try to convince us that sports are life, they are wrong. Public safety must always take precedent. Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. The health and safety of millions of people take precedent over
personal or national glory.’’