Headline news refers to news items which appear at the forefront of stories in newspapers or magazines. It may also refer to sections or pages where these stories can be found.
The Wire recently reported on several instances in which TOI editors have suppressed stories that could embarrass or embattle Prime Minister Narendra Modi, such as Rosamma Thomas’ story on Rajasthan crop insurance.
1. Karnataka government to ban halal meat
Karnataka government officials have announced plans to ban certification of Halal meat within its borders, in an initiative which is sure to spark anger among various communities in Karnataka. Basavaraj Bommai of BJP may present the bill during winter session of assembly.
Right-wing Hindu organizations have already issued demands that halal meat be banned ahead of Ugadi festival, with C T Ravi of BJP National Secretary noting how it forms part of an “economic Jihad” by Muslims.
Ravi wants to end certification of Halal food by organizations other than FSSAI. According to him, these organizations charge money illegally in return for certification of the product as Halal. His private bill also prohibits sales of cosmetic goods certified as Halal; its introduction in assembly this week could bring clashes between Ravi’s bill and those opposed by Congress; this matter could potentially flare up communal tension ahead of state elections.
2. BJP president Amit Shah’s assets increase
Amit Shah, who led the BJP to victory and is widely expected to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s next cabinet, has seen his assets multiply threefold over five years, according to self-declared affidavits submitted by candidates in recent elections.
The affidavit states that Shah owns assets worth Rs 2.3 crore – including both immovable and movable properties – including more than fourfold increases in his wife Sonal Shah’s income since 2007. According to the document, however, Shah did not complete his Bachelor of Commerce degree beyond its second year.
Advocacy groups Gujarat Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms conducted an analysis of 371 candidates’ affidavits submitted for elections by 371 candidates across Gujarat. Their investigation discovered that Punamben Madam from Jamnagar is the one with the highest annual income at Rs 1 crore; she is followed by Congress’ Mehsana candidate AJ Patel at Rs 44 crore followed by Chadrakant Patil of BJP with 35 crore income.
3. Rajasthan crop insurance
Indian oil producer Rajasthan was left scrambling this week following damage caused by sleet, which fell upon winter-planted rapeseed fields on 6.6 million hectares, accounting for 42 percent of national harvest, according to government officials.
The Centre has decided to expedite payment of claims filed by farmers in Barmer district of Rajasthan under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). This decision was reached during a high-level meeting chaired by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and attended by Agriculture Commissioner from Rajasthan government and CMD of Agriculture Insurance Company Kailash Choudhary.
As part of their strategy to mitigate operational risk in agriculture, farmers need a robust insurance system which covers any losses due to natural calamities, according to an official at the Center. It is currently exploring new models of crop insurance which link production and output – potentially helping lower premium costs for farmers.
4. Smriti Irani accused of fraud
Anyone who has watched Smriti Irani act and declaim on TV series like The Office would vouch for her acting talent and her ability to play the part of an exuberant woman with great aplomb. Last week, her histrionics came under scrutiny when Congress accused the BJP minister of operating an illegal bar-cum-restaurant in Goa that obtained its liquor licence fraudulently in the name of an old deceased man.
The BJP leader dismissed these claims and noted that her 18-year-old daughter was not part of any business dealings and only attended college as an independent student. She accused Congress party leaders of engaging in a campaign of character assassination against her after alleging that Silly Souls Cafe and Bar in Assagao, Goa obtained its excise license under an incorrect name – someone deceased.
She added that her mother was being subject to false, malicious, and defamatory social media posts from various vested quarters attempting to settle political scores with our client, each post predicated upon blatant falsehoods. Thomas attempted to rectify her story but it still made headlines despite taking steps such as changing some minor words (including adding fraud) not in her copy, along with making some other minor changes suggested by the desk.