Not Even CJI Can Ever Justify Beheading On Any Ground
The most despicable, dastardly and degrading manner in which Kanhaiya Lal who was a tailor and who was in his shop in Udaipur in Rajasthan was killed most mercilessly, and hacked to death by attacking number of times on head, hands and different parts in the same ghoulish manner in which the terrorists of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Taliban kill with even head and hand not being spared cannot be ever justified by even the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and if any CJI or any Judge of Supreme Court ever tries to justify it in any manner by blaming someone else for provocation then it would not tantamount to an exaggeration to say that the Judge or CJI is single handedly responsible for fully, firmly and finally encouraging terrorists and terror outfits to mercilessly behead anyone on one pretext or the other. Even Judges must always remember that a crime is a crime and it cannot be ever justified on any ground whatsoever! We all know that we are surrounded by hostile neighbours like China and Pakistan which since last many decades has been carrying out cross border terrorism on a very large scale in which we have lost lakhs of lives in last few decades and if still Centre fails to declare terrorism as “an act of war” then shame on them as they are directly responsible for abetting terrorists to indulge in act of beheading and then getting away by the way in which an excruciatingly snail paced manner in which our judicial system operates in different courts starting from lowest to the highest in which several decades are consumed.
Of course, the brutal beheading of Kanhaiya Lal is an “act of terrorism” and blaming Nupur Sharma or Navneet Jindal for it is nothing but “plain stupidity” of the highest order and will only further encourage sleeper cells of terrorists to indulge in more such crimes and then blame Nupur Sharma or anyone else for it! The two men Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad who beheaded Kanhaiya posted a video online boasting it was in retaliation for the victim sharing remarks made by Nupur Sharma on the Prophet and issued death threats to even PM Narendra Modi and Nupur Sharma. They were later arrested from Bhim in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district after police identified them. Even AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has strongly condemned the ghastly incident and has openly and forcefully called for awarding strictest punishment to both these terrorists and killers! Why Centre never amends our penal laws especially IPC and insert Sections pertaining to terrorism in a separate Chapter and treating it as an act of war? Centre definitely has a lot of explaining to do on it and it must utilize the present opportunity to act now promptly as our penal laws also are being reviewed by an expert committee!
It is rightly pointed out in the editorial column titled “Act Of Terrorism” in ‘The Times of India’ newspaper dated June 30, 2022 that, “Following the gruesome murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur – which was plainly an act of terrorism – the course of investigation suggests that governments think this was not an isolated local incident. GoI yesterday directed the National Investigation Agency to take over the probe, with the search for international links being a key dimension. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot echoed the view. He said the murder was meant to spread terror and the information available indicated the two perpetrators have contact overseas. It bears mention that the two terrorists, Mohammad Riyaz Akhtari and Gaus Mohammad who have freely admitted to murdering Lal, apparently belong to groups that believe that the “punishment” for “blasphemy” must be death. Indeed, the most chilling aspect of what Riyaz and Gaus did was the videography, reminiscent of ISIS-style brutality. Clearly, what happened in Udaipur requires a multi-level and multi-agency response.”
What really pains me to the hilt is that Centre till now as I see is fully committed to never amend our penal laws and make “mandatory death penalty” for acts of terror like “beheading” which must be the “rarest of rare case” crime and no excuse or pretext should ever be allowed to be deployed by the accused to get away even after committing such heinous crimes! India is facing terror war of the worst kind since last many decades yet most disgracefully we see not a single Section on “terror act” or “terrorism” or “terror funding” being added to IPC! Terrorism is an act of war which is being sponsored by countries who are inimical to India’s growth and prosperity. We know that our penal laws are being reviewed currently and I fervently hope that Centre will take some substantial steps in this direction to ensure fully that acts of terror are never allowed to be condoned by blaming Nupur Sharma who is herself a 37 year-old-lawyer and was also till recently the BJP spokesperson or citing some other pretext to carry out most dastardly attacks of terrorism!
I am most pleased to note that the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid – Syed Ahmed Bukhari has condemned the Udaipur horror killings and has called it “an act against Islam, unlawful and inhuman.” He said that, “The inhumane incident of the murder of a man named Kanhaiya Lal by two persons named Riaz and Ghous, and that too in the name of the Holy Prophet , is not only an act of cowardice but an act against Islam, unlawful and inhuman. I, myself, and on the behalf of Muslims of India, with all the vehemence at our disposal, condemn this act.”
Eminent History Professor S Irfan Habib said that, “You cannot do anything in the name of religion. The Prophet does not need people like them to defend him. No religion will tell you to kill a fellow human being. It is you as an individual who decided to commit such a crime. The Prophet is powerful enough to defend himself. Any person picking up arms to defend the Gods is not justified. Violence can never be a solution. Making a video and then announcing it. This is a despicable crime against humanity. This should be condemned. Don’t use religion to justify crime. Nobody can justify and nobody should justify this. This is only going to add to fear. This sort of a thing cannot be done in the name of religion, whether by Hindus or Muslims.”
Let me hasten to add here that my best friend Sageer Khan once told me in 1993 that the revered Quran enjoins (in Ch.3, V 186) Muslims to answer the abuses hurled at even God with “patience” and not violence.” Sageer Khan also said that, “Terrorists who behead an ordinary person must be punished in the same manner as terrorists are punished in Saudi Arabia under Islamic Sharia law. Their hands and legs must be decapitated and then they should be left on the street to fend for themselves! If this is done strictly in India, we will be terror free just like Saudi Arabia!” We are a democratic country and we certainly cannot do all this but definitely Centre must speed up terror cases and abolish mercy petition for terrorists and try them on a war footing so that they are punished promptly!
Mufti Mukarram Ahmed who is the Imam of Fatehpur Masjid and also an Islamic scholar described the ghastly killings as not just unlawful but also un-Islamic. He said that, “I have no words to condemn what happened in Udaipur. How can any person be a Judge and partake in such a horrible act? If you have a problem with any person, he/she should inform the police. The Quran does not preach about such a horrible crime. The Prophet does not endorse this act. What they have done today does not represent the Muslims or Islam. They should be punished as per the law.”
It is most shocking to see that the police did not give any security of any kind to Kanhaiya Lal even after he complained and requested repeatedly for security being provided to him. His wife said that, “My husband was consistently receiving threats that he would be killed. People would come to his shop and threaten him. If timely action had been taken, he would have been alive.” It is high time and Centre must initiate reforms in police department also just like it has done in Army so that an ordinary person does not suffer endlessly and for no fault of theirs. The reforms suggested by the Apex Court in Prakash Singh case in 2006 must be implemented at least now. Also, those police officers who refuse to lodge FIR or fail to act to save a person who faces death threats must be punished most strictly and not just get suspended for some time as a cosmetic step and after some time when public anger subsides then again restore him to his original position!
Rajasthan State DGP ML Lather admitted to police lapses at the local level in Udaipur and said a case had been lodged against Kanhaiya Lal himself on June 10 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a social media post based on complaint filed by an individual named Najim. While Lal was arrested and released on bail on June 11, the DGP said that, “He four days later filed an application at the police station saying that four to seven people were keeping a watch on his shop and had threatened him. The SHO failed to assess the gravity of the situation and effective action was not taken.” The net result was Kanhaiya was brutally murdered and slaughtered!
It must be underscored that those who resort to stone pelting or burning of trains or burning of buses or any other kind of violence in a democratic country like India must be punished with the strictest punishment and should never be allowed to go scot free. We saw how in Kanpur among other cities, many protesters who were protesting against the statement of Nupur Sharma pelted stones and damaged vehicles and ransacked shops etc! Violence by anyone whether he/she is a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh or anyone else cannot be justified under any circumstances! If anyone tries to justify this then it will definitely become a most dangerous trend which will be justified on one pretext or the other which can never be in the long term national interest and cannot be ever justified under any circumstances!
It is really most shocking to see that in a democratic country like India which believes in pluralism and tolerance and harmony, we see just one argument in a TV channel assuming such gargantuan proportions which cannot be ever justified. It is so shocking to see that some leaders and fundamentalists organizations are openly calling for action to be taken against Nupur Sharma and hanging her publicly which I find most reprehensible because we are a democratic country and not some hard core Islamic country like Afghanistan! This has only compelled many Hindu organizations like VHP, Bajrang Dal among others to come out openly in full support of Nupur Sharma and they have a legitimate point too that so much of brouhaha is being made over a debate discussion in a news channel in which the other panelist Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani also was seen making some sarcastic remarks about Lord Shiv which provoked Nupur Sharma also to reply in anger as was pointed out even by a very eminent Maulana of Pakistan as stated above.
It cannot be glossed over that a very eminent Muslim scholar named Maulana Salafi Engineer Mohammad Ali Mirza of Pakistan has fully, firmly and finally supported Nupur Sharma. He said that the Muslim panelist had first provoked Nupur Sharma by commenting and it was in response to this that she commented about the Prophet. Mirza said that, “We have to see the whole atmosphere in this entire controversy. The real culprit is the Muslim guy who first mocked Hindu religion in the live TV show. BJP leader [Nupur Sharma] made remarks about the Prophet in rebuttal. Islam does not allow us to mock other religions.” He said that from the style and tone of Nupur Sharma’s statement, it will be known that she is retaliating. He said that the first criminal is a Muslim who talked about one’s religion in a live TV program but about whom none is speaking in India. This is what even I find really atrocious!
Maulana Ali further said that in the Nupur Sharma controversy, people of the Arab countries are provoking the atmosphere by sitting in ACs while in India people are protesting in the scorching heat and the policemen are answering them. He further puts across his point saying that, “This is basically an international politics. Arab countries are the slaves of those nations who are not the allies of Russia. These countries instigated Arab countries against India. Before this, there have been many big cases on which Arab countries did not react. Now Arab countries were instigated to put pressure on India regarding Russia.” No doubt, the reference is to countries like Canada, US, UK and other European countries!
We are a democratic country where every person has a right to put across his/her viewpoint. If Nupur Sharma has said something wrong the law is there to take her to task but what about the person named Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani who provoked first Nupur Sharma? Why no one is talking about him? Why he commented adversely about Lord Shiv and the Shivalinga found in the Gyanvapi Masjid well which is just not being discussed anywhere but which even a Maulana based in Pakistan is pointing out as I have just mentioned above! Nupur Sharma who herself is a lawyer has a legitimate point when she claims that her comments were a reaction to continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev (Lord Shiva) by the other panelist named Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani who was also speaking on the TV debate and who happens to be a Muslim. Why no one is talking about him also? Why only Nupur Sharma is alone being selectively made a scapegoat? Why we don’t see anyone mentioning about that person also? This makes it indubitably clear that we practice discrimination in such a terrible manner which cannot be ever justified under any circumstances!
It is said that Nupur Sharma made some controversial comments about Prophet Mohammad who is the founder of Islam. It merits no reiteration that no sane person can ever in his right senses ever endorse anything wrong said about such a prominent personality whom Muslims hold in the highest esteem. She spoke about Prophet Mohammad marrying with a very small girl. We don’t even get to read as to what exactly she said. She later apologized also humbly for the remarks which she made while speaking in a discussion in a news channel. Then why so much of brouhaha is made not just in India but all across the globe! We see so many times even Hindu Gods and Goddesses are not spared and MF Hussain even painted Goddess Sita naked! But everything normally ends with an apology! This is what in this case I find most reprehensible as the matters were not allowed to rest with an apology and some vested interests further abetted the controversy with their provocative speeches! But I am glad to see that many Muslim prominent faces too are condemning the issuing of death threats to Nupur Sharma and have voiced the controversy to be laid to rest as she has apologized.
The million dollar question here is: Why are we seeing growing intolerance in India? Why we forget what Dean Swift once famously said that, “We have just enough religion to make us kill one another but not enough to make us love one another?” Why those who give death threats are very rarely punished and why at least for 14 years they are not thrown behind bars who issue death threats for any reason whatsoever? Why is Centre not making law on this also at the earliest? Centre must act on this also so that no one ever dares to ever issue such bounty awards and death threats. If Centre fails to act on this at the earliest then that day is not far when we will openly see beheading and what not which will only signal the end of democracy in India!
It really pleases me to the hilt to see for myself that none other than the Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind president Suhaib Qasmi on Sunday himself is on record saying that the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nupur Sharma, who allegedly made controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad, should be forgiven as per Islam. He added that the organisation of Muslim scholars disagreed with the nationwide protests in wake of her remarks. He also pointed out that the matter should have been laid to rest after she publicly apologized for the remarks which she made. Qasmi said, “Islam says Nupur Sharma should be forgiven. We disagree with the protest that started across the country after Friday prayers against Nupur Sharma and her derogatory remarks.” Muslim organization Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind also condemned the killing of Kanhaiya and said that such an act cannot be justified in any way and is against the religion of Islam.
All said and done, it is high time and now Centre must definitely step forward and take the much needed bold initiative in this regard of stipulating the strict punishment of at least 14 years if not 20 years in jail to all those who dare to ever announce bounty rewards to kill someone or maim someone or cut the throat of someone which is nowadays becoming a fashion in India and yet such rogues are rarely punished. Why should their property also not be seized? Why should they be let off so gently after just 2 or 3 years only as we see under our present laws? It certainly merits no reiteration that this burning issue must be addressed by Centre now without any more further delay as it brooks no more delay now!
We must all always remember that, “Two wrongs cannot make a right. If Kanhaiya Lal or even Nupur Sharma says something wrong then that ipso facto does not confer an unfettered licence on others to kill them most mercilessly and behead them! Even CJI or any Judge of the Supreme Court cannot ever justify such dastardly killings which is perpetrated by those who receive terror training from foreign countries! We must always remember what none other than late Justice VR Krishna Iyer who himself was a Supreme Court Judge said once famously that, “Supreme Court is final but not infallible!” Acts of inhuman killings cannot be justified by blaming Nupur Sharma or Navneet or Jasmeet or anyone else! Those who perpetrate such gruesome acts of horrifying killings must be definitely made to face the full fury of law whether they are Hindu or Muslim or anyone else of any other religion!