Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The Sharjah courts verdict awarding death penalty to 17 Indians for murdering a Pakistani in the UAE has surprised not only the politicians but also the media. Efforts are being made to convince the honorouble court to withdraw this verdict.

“Nowhere in the world have 17 persons been awarded death for killing one man”, said Punjab local bodies Minister Mr. Manoranjan Kalia. He added that a legal garb had been given to an illogical verdict.

The families of the victims asked the Indian government, with full support of the media, to intervene in the case and the latter has assured legal assistance.

It was in this context that an english daily published a news article in its Bangalore edition which has a picture of a mosque. According to the news, in all fifty people(50) were arrested in connection with the murder of which thirty three (33) including one Mr. Arvinder Singh were released. “I was in Sharjah for one-and-a-half years. My cousin and I worked as labourers. Around 2:30am on that morning, the police arrested us. We weren’t told why and were asked to be silent. Later, we learnt that a case was registered against us. I was imprisoned for three months and then released,” the newspaper quoted Singh.
There was one observation made after viewing this news item. For no apparent reason the picture of the mosque has been featured in the news. Scarcity of things representing Dubai cannot be the reason behind this. A nefarious intention seems to be the reason. The story is being presented to the reader in such a way, so that he believes that the judgement was being inspired by the religion of Islam which the mosque symbolizes. Dubai is among the Islamic countries of the world. It will be unwise on the part of media to add the photo of any temple or a church if it carries any news about the verdicts of Nepal or USA courts.

Otherwise, as for the judgement, no Indian differs from the stand taken by the government and the media. But many question how we can justify the ‘injustice’ we ourselves do to some innocents by implicating them in false terror cases.

Ironically, the role of the media is not encouraging in this matter. There are many examples which can easily be found where after a terror incident it was the media which provided the leads to the investigation! It was the judge, investigator and what not. Call it whatever you like, a coincidence or a conspiracy, but the fact is that Muslim youth were always the suspects. Take the example of the recent blast in Pune. Just after the blast took place the list of the suspected executors imagined by the media had only the outfits with Muslim names. Thanks to the police for not putting blind and complete trust in these myths, as it seemed it did in the earlier blasts.

Why is the media reluctant to prove the innocence of the wronged individuals if they belong to minority communities? Instead, when it is to demonize anyone or any community it is on the forefront, but when the courts acquit them of all the charges, then what was the front page news now is a few lines hidden somewhere in the inside pages. If seventeen held in Sharjah for the murder of one individual is Front page news and seems unfair to all then what about the hundreds of innocent youth that are in our jails held indefinitely for being suspects. Is the media prejudiced? Then why ignore the plight of fellow Indians in our own country.

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