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Opinion: The Supreme Court’s Scathing Criticism Of Nupur Sharma


Will the welcome, although belated, feedback of the Supreme Court on Nupur Sharma and her assertion in opposition to the Prophet lead, at the least now, to the logical step of her arrest? In a scathing indictment, the Bench in an open court docket stated, “The way she has ignited emotions across the country… This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country.”

It was on her petition to membership all of the FIRs filed in several states in opposition to her that the Supreme Court made these feedback. She was pressured to withdraw her petition. Even weeks after her assertion on nationwide tv, and even after a number of FIRs have been filed in opposition to her, Amit Shah’s police, so immediate in arresting and harassing Mohammed Zubair, are lacking in motion so far as Ms Sharma is worried. The audacity of these in energy to increase safety to their very own seemingly has no limits.

It is hardly a secret that Mohammed Zubair was arrested and subjected to a number of acts of harassment by the Delhi Police, functioning underneath the Home Ministry, as a result of he had shared the clip of Ms Sharma’s feedback on TV, a wonderfully authorized and logical step by a fact-checker dedicated to reveal the reality and hate-mongering. The police have tried to masks this vindictive motion in opposition to Zubair by fishing out a tweet by him in 2018, quoting from a movie made by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. For 4 years after Zubair’s tweet, no “religious sentiments”  had been damage, there was completely no grievance from any quarter, and now, abruptly some manufactured social media account recordsdata a criticism about this outdated tweet and the Delhi Police swings into motion.

Nupur Sharma had in an interview to OpIndia, a right-wing information portal, named Mohammed Zubair, blaming him for the trolling she was being subjected to together with loss of life threats. It is for the Cyber Crime Cell to hint the sources of the loss of life threats she has reportedly acquired, and to take motion in opposition to them. Certainly, nobody can countenance threats of violence, and motion should be taken to cease them. But how is Mohammed Zubair guilty? He simply shared what she herself had stated on nationwide tv and  for which she later aplologised. Now the Supreme Court says her apology was half-hearted and that she ought to apologise to the entire nation. It additionally commented that it had seen the total video and strongly criticized the tenor of the programme itself. Will the judges even be accused of encouraging loss of life threats? And demonstrations be organised in opposition to the Bench?

Nupur Sharma’s remarks sparked a large row and drew a backlash from the Gulf.

The similar portal that offered Nupur Sharma a platform to call and blame Zubair has come out brazenly in a harmful and deliberate twist to the feedback of the court docket. Soon after the feedback, its editorial desk states: “The SC has not stopped at just blaming one woman for violence and murder committed by religious fanatics in the name of Islam” …( nowhere does the Supreme Court point out violence, homicide, fanatics or Islam)  and additional ” In other words, Justice Surya Kant made it clear that for him, it is Sharma’s fault that she spoke in a manner that ‘provoked’ the Islamists, not the Islamists’ fault who have declared openly to behead anyone who they deem as ‘blasphemous’ (words being attributed to the court which it never spoke), and finally, “Since the Supreme Court has declared that the Udaipur homicide, the place a Hindu man was killed for simply sharing a social media publish in Sharma’s help, is Sharma’s fault, plainly if Sharma herself turns into a sufferer of violence that Islamists have declared for her, the Supreme Court of this nation may truly say that she deserved it.”

This is a bunch of lies to provoke people on communal lines. Surely a case should be filed against such a ‘news’ portal for deliberately communalising the comments of the court. This is more than criminal contempt of court- it is directly provoking a communal response.The reason to give so much space to OpIndia comments is because it illustrates how a false narrative is built and then multiplied. Such outfits enjoy political patronage and finances received through generous advertising from BJP ruled governments.

The court’s comments are not reflected in the final order permitting Nupur Sharma to withdraw her petition. However, an important point is made by the comments which goes beyond the Nupur Sharma case to a more general context of the direct link between hate speech and its consequences. Earlier, the Delhi High Court in a recent order had been more explicit in drawing the links between hate speech and the subsequent violence: “Hate speeches are the start level of assaults in opposition to the focused group that may vary from discrimination to ostracism, ghettoisation, deportation and even genocide.” This was in a petition filed by this writer against top BJP government and elected functionaries for hate speech. The petition was dismissed because the required sanction for prosecution was not given by the government, which point is being appealed. But the point to be noted is that the links drawn by the court between hate speech as the ” starting level” of subsequent developments.

There is no doubt that today the “normalization” of hate speech as part of the political agenda of the ruling regime, backed by a clutch of media houses, has seriously vitiated social relations between communities. The “normalization” includes the irresponsible and deliberate silence of top leaders either to condemn hate-based provocative statements, or their refusal to make appeals for peace and harmony. The barbaric and brutal killing of Kanhaiya Lal, and the subsequent release of the most chillingly inhuman video, in a terror act by Muslim extremists reportedly linked to international terror groups, was widely condemned across the political spectrum. The killers were arrested in swift action by the Rajasthan government. However. the widespread outrage was sought to be taken advantage of by groups who marched on the streets of Udaipur shouting slogans in support of Nupur Sharma and carrying her photographs. Did a single BJP leader condemn this? In such a volatile situation, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan made an open request to the Prime Minister to make an appeal for peace and harmony. But his request was met with a deafening silence. The Prime Minister did not speak a single word.

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Nupur Sharma had in an interview to OpIndia, a right-wing news portal, named Mohammed Zubair, blaming him for the trolling she was being subjected to including death threats.

On every occasion when the flag-bearers of the Sangh Parivaar make hateful speeches, the top political and government leaders remain silent. It is not just the words, but also the actions, of those in power that have created an environment of hate and suspicion between communities in a diabolical effort of polarizing minds and hearts. While the Supreme Court has rightly made this strong criticism of Sharma and the news channel concerned as well as the Delhi police, it is those in power who must be held responsible for the creation of an environment where such comments can be made at all.

It is a truism that one fundamentalism strengthens the other. But we are seeing the ghastly effects of this across India. While the bulldozer of toxic majoritarian communalism rampages against constitutional guarantees, the reach of Islamicists and their rabid groups make inroads into a beleaguered community. This is a nightmare that India has to deal with,  that India has to awaken from by banishing the darkness that enables its creation. In this, the courts have an important role to play and sometimes, though too rarely, their incisive comments help clear the way such as those made in the case of Nupur Sharma. An appeal has been made to the Chief Justice by Sharma’s supporters for the ” withdrawal of the feedback in opposition to Sharma. ” it is going to be a tragic day if this occurs. The fact can’t be expunged.

(Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha)

Disclaimer: These are the private opinions of the writer.



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