Hostage to a Narrative

With reference to “Aryan Khan gets clean chit….”, reported  in a section of press, one could yet take a generous view that Khan being given a clean chit by the NCB, after much delay, could well be attributed to investigations taking their time. This by itself may well be of lesser note.

It is the engineered sensation behind such episodes that should cause far greater concern. There is a growing tendency of the visual media, more so when people of note are in the frame, to act as judge, jury and lynch mob. And as boisterous social media then joins in to stretch it to extremes.

Given the substantial reach of either, investigating officers tend to step into the limelight with unsubstantiated bytes. In seeking their moment of glory, narratives get moulded and driven, even as the accused wait long for redemption.

The Sushant Singh Rajput case had followed a similar script. And we are still in the dark on its final development. And then, public memory is proverbially short. That said, the special Investigation Team, in its oversight function on this case, has since helped refurbish public trust. Apart from lack of evidence, it has flagged serious questions over shoddy investigations and the arrest itself. It need not have taken an SIT to apply corrections nor can this be a provision by default, in pursuit of fairness and justice. Yet, in far too many cases involving lesser persona, the wait for justice will perhaps stay excruciatingly long.

R Narayanan

Navi Mumbai


Is it indeed a blatantly counterfeit pretence?

Two BJP leaders’ comments on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ have unleashed a backlash in West Asian nations, with Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoning the Indian envoys on June 5. On social media there have been calls to ban Indian products and arrest Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal.

Qatar told Indian envoy Deepak Mittal in no uncertain terms: “Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate”.

Kuwait summoned Indian ambassador and demanded a “public apology for these hostile statements”. Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Indian ambassador to Tehran over what the state media called “insult against Prophet of Islam in an Indian TV show”.

In a damage control attempt, Deepak Mittal told Qatari authorities that they were ‘fringe elements’ and not the government. Well, if they are ‘fringe elements’, why has the governments taken only disciplinary action against them; why has it not arrested them?

The police in Uttar Pradesh has said that the houses of the ‘conspirators’ of Kanpur violence will be seized or demolished. Why don’t you seize or demolish the houses of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal who have committed blasphemy? Are the suspension and dismissal orders meant to just calm down the raging reactions and re-induct them later? The Congress has also trashed the BJP statement, saying it is “nothing but a blatantly counterfeit pretence, which is evidently farce and another sham attempt at damage control”.

Sharique Ahmed

Meerut, UP

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