The Big Story: Exit Right
As far as the Bharatiya Janata Party is concerned, the town of Kairana has been the site of a Hindu exodus over the past two years, prompted by Muslim criminals who rule the roost in the area. Never mind that the source of the story, BJP Member of Parliament Hukum Singh, has since asserted that his claims of a mass migration are not based on communal issues. Never mind that district authorities have found that only three families out of Singh's list of 346 left because of the threat of violence. And don't even ask about the fact that many of those on the list are still living in the town, or left decades ago for better jobs or education.
For the BJP, this evidently untrue claim of a town under siege from Muslim criminals is the perfect example of what it wants Hindus to believe about Uttar Pradesh under the Samajwadi Party. So it's determined to create the impression and sell the narrative, even if its own MPs are saying otherwise. "We are scouting for other ‘Kairanas’ in the state, where similar migration has taken place," a party leader told The Hindu.
A perfect illustration of the BJP template: Member of Parliament Sangeet Som wants to go on a padyatra across Western Uttar Pradesh "to make people safe". Som, in case anyone has forgotten, is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. So concerned are others by his threat of a padyatra that the Samajwadi Party has announced a counter padyatra. Even Hukum Singh – the MP whose flawed list is the foundation of the Kairana story – asked Som not to undertake his Padyatra. "I do not want him to stir the communal pot in Kairana,” Singh told The Hindu.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the BJP's Uttar Pradesh campaign last week, he gave his party workers a list of seven principles to abide by. Truth does not appear to be one of them.
The Big Scroll
This town in UP has grappled with a divide since 2013 – and BJP's "Hindu exodus" claim may deepen it.
1. A complaint submitted to the prime minister by a Delhi lawyer claims that the Essar Group tapped the telephones of prominent people, including the Ambani brothers, Cabinet ministers and others between 2001 and 2006. Essar denies this.
2. The Congress is used to demands from the Uttar Pradesh unit for one Gandhi (Priyanka) to be given prominence, but one state general secretary is asking for a different Gandhi (Varun) altogether.
3. Rights campaigner Teesta Setalvad's organisation, the Sabrang Trust, will not be able to receive foreign funds after the home ministry cancelled its licence citing alleged violation of various laws.
4. Officials have arrested a migrant labourer from Assam in the murder of 29-year-old law student Jisha, in Kerala.
1. Amitabha Pande in the Indian Express says the government's recent publicity efforts are an attempt to hide a nervous core.
2. The pass-fail system that puts a premium on examinations is only a symptom of our hierarchy-happy society, writes Rohit Dhankar in the Hindu.
3. Karan Johar on NDTV.com takes on the trolls.
Menaka Rao and Nayantara Narayanan report on vaccine-derived polio found in Hyderabad, which is an outcome of India's immunisation strategy.
“The last case of wild polio virus type 2 was seen in India in 1999 and it was the last global case,” said Pradeep Haldar, deputy commissioner of health with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Since then, health officials have continued to use to the oral polio vaccine with the goal of eradicating type 3 and type 1 wild poliovirus as well.
There was talk of stopping use of the type 2 strain in the vaccine. But health officials worried that if they discontinued the type 2 vaccine, then the last children who got vaccinated would continue to shed the vaccine into the environment and children who haven’t got the vaccine would be susceptible to polio again. This is because, unlike small pox whose only host is human, the poliovirus thrives in sewage and can multiply there till it finds a human host."