Supreme Court notice (Mar 4) to Advani and other Sangh Parivar leaders, in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition, has once again brought them back to the limelight.
On Mar 5, almost all newspapers (at least their Delhi edition) carried related news; and good articles and editorials on the issue were expected. But unfortunately all national dailies preferred to look the other way round.
It is important to think why the pens of prominent journalists and columnists, who bear responsibility to write for smooth functioning of a healthy democracy, stop writing when the accused fall to be heavyweight, and more so when they happen to be related to Sangh Parivar!
Our heads hang in shame whenever an unpleasant incident takes place in the serene environment. Not only because it throws the country a few steps back but also because it earns bad name globally. If we browse through the recent history, we can find that some riots in the country have been so disastrous and infamous that one hardly dares to visit the place however calm and peaceful it might have turned now.
However, we have a fascinating history of Freedom of Expression and Speech. Our journalists have invariably, sometimes at their life’s stake, exposed scandals and black deeds and the black sheep around them. Only last year a series of major scams was exposed leading the accused behind the bars. Now the noose is around them; this could not have been possible without the constant media focus.
On Mar 1, the Special Trial court in Godhra incident, awarded death sentence to 11 accused and life imprisonment to 20 others, while acquitting 63 others of their charges. The court termed the case as “rarest of the rare,” stressing that it deserved nothing less than death sentence.
Now if they had committed the crime, they deserve punishment and there should be no remorse as Islam strongly prohibits the killing of a person without any valid reasons.
One can say the hapless, who got death and life sentences, got ‘justice’ and ‘deserved’ the media coverage. But could the 63 others, who were acquitted after nine years in prison, delivered justice? What can compensate the social stigma, physical torture and financial loss they suffered for a role they had never played!
Most importantly, no article in any prominent daily newspaper appeared advocating justice and compensation for the acquitted. This mystifying silence cannot be a good sign in the plural society.
Now, if the media professionals, journalists and columnists, along with others, keep an eye on the developments and keep calling a spade a spade, fair judgement could be expected in all other cases in which justice is due.