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Monday, October 09, 2006

The Afzal Dilemma and Media absurdities

I have been reading with interest the various arguments in the latest drama on the Indian media platform.

Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri, has been sentenced by the Supreme Court of India to be hanged to death for his role in the attack on Indian Parliament in 2001. The hanging has been fixed for October 20, 2006. Soon after the sentenced was pronounced by the SC, various sections of Indian society have been engaged in a debate on whether Afzal should be hanged or not.

First lets look at the major points of dispute:

1) Afzal was only a fringe player in the whole drama. The main players are safe in Pakistan.

2) Afzal was not provided a lawyer of his choice, and the case was not conducted in a fair manner by the court.

3) His hanging will only increase the anguish among Kashmiris, leading to more terrorists being born.

4) A civilized society should not resort to killing a human being.

What is the media doing in this public drama? They have been faithfully reporting all the bits and pieces of controversy. The wife of the accused seeks clemency through the media, the political parties make their point of view through the media, the government flip flops its way in front of the media - and leaves everyone confused.

I am yet to come across an article that really details the controversy - after asking the actors the real hard questions, and getting the answers.

Some questions that have either not been asked, or not been answered:

Afzal Guru and his family:
1) Why has Afzal not pleaded his innocence?
2) Why did the family not raise the issue, during the trial?
3) What answers do they have to the families of the policemen who were killed in the attack?

The political parties:
1) If Afzal Guru is a terrorist, what about the various Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists who breed hatred in India?
2) What does India gain out of hanging a fringe player in the attack?
3) What have the parties done for the martyred policemen's families - not to mention the countless others who have laid down their lives protecting the country?
4) How does the hanging of a criminal become a law and order issue in a state?

And most importantly, the celebrities:
1) Where were they when the policemen died protecting the Parliament - the personification of democracy in India?
2) What have they done to create an atmosphere of peace in India, if not Kashmir?
3) What do they know about the conditions in which our police and armed forces work in India?
4) Would they still ask for forgiveness, if instead of the policemen, it was one of their kin who was killed in the attack?

The media in India needs to understand that the readers want to know the whole truth, not on an as-is-where-is basis. They need to show the spine to ask the questions, get the answers and publish the articles, so that the debate happens on an elevated level.


  • I am yet to come across an article that really details the controversy - after asking the actors the real hard questions, and getting the answers.

    <a href="> Public Relations</a>

    By Blogger Stephan White, at 5:54 PM  

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