Blaming Nupur Sharma For Pakistan Sponsored Terrorism
Ihave always held Supreme Court which is the highest court of our nation in the highest esteem which we all who are citizens must do also as good citizens of India. I have also written thousands of articles on Supreme Court rulings in the last three decades. But till now never have I differed with Supreme Court as strongly as I differ with its oral observations in case of Nupur Sharma by the Bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JB Pardiwala (who are both very competent Judges and both of whom will become Chief Justice of India in the days to come ahead) by which she was squarely blamed single handedly for the terror acts that were perpetrated in Udaipur, Kanpur and other parts of the country. Her prayer for all the cases that were filed in different parts of the country to be clubbed together as she faced death threats and rape threats and what not was denied which I find grossly unjust! Not just this, without any trial she was blamed single handedly by the Apex Court Bench for all the terror acts perpetrated by terrorists who had even gone to Pakistan to get training on how to behead! This is definitely most shocking and has shaken me to the hilt!
On the contrary, we saw how the Apex Court Bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice JK Maheshwari most commendably granted protection to Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan against the multiple FIRs that were registered against him over an alleged doctored video of Rahul Gandhi’s speech that was telecasted in DNA show on July 1, 2022. It is a matter of some solace that many legal luminaries like former Delhi High Court Judge – Justice (Retd) SN Dhingra among others openly and most vociferously expressed their dissent over the manner in which Nupur Sharma was denied any relief. He termed it as ‘irresponsible’, ‘illegal’ and ‘unfair’. He also said that the Supreme Court has no right to make such remarks adding that, “From any point of view the Supreme Court has no right to make such remarks.” He further said that the Supreme Court imposed a charge and gave verdict without listening Nupur Sharma.
Most sagaciously, Justice (Retd) SN Dhingra said that, “The law says that if you want to convict a person, you must first frame the charge against him, then the prosecution will present its evidence, after which he will get an opportunity to give his statement on that evidence. He/she then gets a chance to present his/her witnesses. After that it is the duty of the court to take into account all the evidence and give its verdict. In my view this remark is very irresponsible in itself. The Supreme Court has no right to make any such remark that the entire career of the person who has come to seek justice may be ruined or all the courts are prejudiced against him/her. Even the Supreme Court is not above the law.” How can Nupur Sharma be blamed for Kanhaiya Lal’s brutal and most ghastly beheading in Udaipur by those who attended terror training camps in Pakistan and had stayed in Pakistan for a long time?
How can Supreme Court ignore that Pakistan sponsored radical terror groups and their sleeper cells are responsible for such dastardly killings as we saw first in Amaravati and then in Udaipur? Even Umesh Kolhe was killed on June 21 in Amaravati in Eastern Maharashtra for a post supporting Nupur Sharma! Will again Nupur Sharma be blamed for it? Why National Investigation Agency is not blaming Nupur Sharma for these ghastly and cowardly killings and pointing at Pakistani angle?
Even many retired Army Lieutenant Generals like VK Chaturvedi were at a total loss to comprehend why Nupur Sharma was squarely blamed for the ghastly terror acts and killings and thus indirectly giving a clean chit to Pakistan sponsored terrorism! Even eminent lawyer Gautam Bhatia too in one of his article in Hindustan Times expressed his utter dismay at the manner in which Nupur Sharma was denied bail by the top court. It is high time and our Supreme Court Judges must introspect their astonishing stand on Nupur Sharma who has been receiving so many death threats yet she did not get a sympathetic hearing even in the top court itself!
In an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, 117 signatories which include former Bombay High Court Chief Justice Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court Judge SM Soni, former Rajasthan High Court Judges RS Rathore and Prashant Agarwal and former Delhi High Court Judge SN Dhingra. Former IAS officers RS Gopalan and S Krishna Kumar and former top police officers SP Vaid, PC Dogra, former top defence officials like Lt Gen (Retd) VK Chaturvedi and Air Marshal (Retd) SP Singh were also among them who expressed their utmost dismay at the callous manner in which Nupur Sharma was denied any relief by the top cop and blamed squarely for terror acts for which there can be no justification on any ground whatsoever! There is no harm in acknowledging that Nupur Sharma has been blamed too much and that her life is actually under serious immediate threat from hard core Islamic terror groups and she needs not just police protection but also protection from inconvenience, harassment and danger to her life when she travels from one state to another to fight her legal case as the top court has refused to club all the FIRs unlike Rohit Ranjan of Zee News who got such relief from the top court!
Of course, 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 while they were on way to Ajmer Sharif. They have links with Dawat-e-Islami which is based in Karachi in Pakistan and were indoctrinated into hardline Islamism. NIA is investigating links with Ajmer also and role of Gauhar Chishti as the most provocative slogans of “Saar taan se juda” were raised most forcefully here which became the new war cry slogans! 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 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 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 when the matter is sub-judice 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 famous painter MF Hussain even painted Goddess Sita naked! 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.
We must 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!” It merits no reiteration that 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 especially if they are terror acts sponsored from across the border must be definitely made to face the full fury of law always whether they are Hindu or Muslim or anyone else of any other religion! Of course, justice must not only be done but also be seen to be actually done which most unfortunately we don’t see happening till now in Nupur Sharma’s case! Let’s still hope fervently that justice will be done in Nupur case also!