Thursday 24th Jan 2019
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Sarabjit’s Death Litmus Test for India

Cover Story

, by EDITORIAL

A reaction to some wrongdoing is all but natural, but it should be measured and proportional and never sentimental and hysterical. Unfortunately, this was not so with the death of Sarabjit Singh, who died in tragic circumstances in a Pakistani jail. The way our politicians reacted to this death is a sad commentary on immaturity of our political class.

Our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, otherwise a very sagacious and suave gentleman, went to the extent of saying that “the deceased is a brave son of India”. His government announced a grant of Rs. 25 lakh to the family of the deceased. The government of Punjab went still ahead and announced a grant of Rs. 1 crore and government employment to the two daughters of the deceased. Not that alone, he has been declared a martyr, given state funeral and three-day state mourning.

No doubt he died in tragic circumstances but is it not a fact that, according to NHRC’s reports, hundreds of innocent Indians are killed by our law-enforcing agencies in fake encounters every year. Is it not true that literally thousands of Muslim youths have been implicated in false cases all over India, and scores of them have been mercilessly killed in fake encounters? Even young women are not being spared. Can India forget Kauser Bi and Ishrat Jahan, who were bumped off by high ranking Gujarat police officials and courts are busy looking into their cases. Is it not the duty of civil society to take up the cases of these sons and daughters of the soil?

Will it not be appropriate if the relatives of all those innocent bread-earners, who have been eliminated in state-sponsored and authorities-executed killings, are adequately compensated? They, being Indian citizens, have a greater claim to such compensation.

Why do our media adopt double-standards? In June 2012, a young under-trial from Darbhanga, Qateel Siddiqui, was killed by jail inmates in a Pune jail. Why shouldn’t his poor family be compensated? Why was there death-like silence then in our media, and why are there shouts and cries from roof tops now? Media is the conscience-keeper of a nation. It must rethink about these double standards and take corrective steps.



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