The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday cut its key rate by 25 basis points to 6.5% and made a number of changes to improve liquidity in the Indian economy.
2. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a complete ban on alcohol in the state, just four days after prohibiting country liquor.
3. India launched its fastest train, the Gatimaan Express, which took100 minutes to get from Delhi to Agra (although it left 10 minutes late).
The Big Story: Falser Flag
The Indian government on Tuesday “rubbished” a report from a Pakistani newspaper that claimed that the Joint Investigation Team that visited India to investigate the Pathankot attacks had concluded that it had been a “drama staged to malign Pakistan”. Authorities in New Delhi described the Pakistan Today report as a “total concoction”.
The report claimed that a JIT source, after looking at Indian evidence on the terror attack, said that Indian authorities did not fully cooperate with the investigative team. The source is quoted as saying Pathankot “looked like another false flag operation… just to put the blame on Pakistan”.
There is almost no need to point out how ridiculous that statement is, if only because it assumes a level of competence from Indian officials that patently doesn’t exist – as the Pathankot and ensuing drama has proven.
New Delhi has naturally put out word that the Pakistan Today report is completely baseless. Now, Islamabad needs to follow suit as well. The media on both sides of the Line of Control frequently plays their part in whipping up frenzies, often with the help of reports like this that are based entirely on anonymous sources.
India’s jingoistic television channels are no less at fault here. But the Indian government does take efforts, if only through unattributed quotes, to counter some of the excesses of the Indian media (unless those stories were planted by the government in the first place). If the Pakistani government – which has shown an unusual willingness to work with India over this incident – doesn’t manage to strongly rebut this ridiculous report without falling into the natural trap it poses, it might be hard not to conclude that its origins are closer to Islamabad than to Rawalpindi.
Politicking & Policying
1. Protesting outstation students at the National Institute of Technology in Srinagar were lathi-charged, following clashes that had broken out after India lost a cricket match.
2. The Supreme Court of India slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India for not disbursing funds fairly, calling it a “mutually beneficial” society.
3. Members of the Vijaykanth’s Desiya Morpokku Dravida Kazhagamwere expelled after they held a press conference calling on the party to rethink its alliance with the People’s Welfare Front.
4. Actor Amitabh Bachchan said it is possible that his name has been “misused”, after it turned out that he has been listed as the director of several offshore shipping companies in the Panama Papers.
1. Subir Roy in the Business Standard reminds us of the woeful state of the Medical Council of India.
2. India is seeing fiscal centralisation and fiscal decentralisation at the same time, writes Niranjan Rajadhyaksha in Mint.
3. A leader in the Indian Express says nothing has changed in Bihar, at least going by murder convict Mohammad Shahabuddin’s re-appointment to the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s national executive committee.
Angikaar Choudhary reports from the scene of Kolkata’s flyover tragedy, where the fear hasn’t dissipated.
“Bhaiya, main ek anpad gawar rickshaw puller hoon. (I am an uneducated simpleton rickshaw-puller, brother),” began Mukhiya. “But even I know the load I am carrying and when it becomes too much. For all these years, we saw that single stretch, both the up and down sections, being supported by a single pillar. We used to feel uneasy about it and then this terrible thing happened.”