Former editor of The Hindu believes Pakistan has a ‘Right to Retaliate’

Siddharth Varadarajan, the former editor of the left-leaning and family-owned newspaper The Hindu, seems to believe that Pakistan has a right to retaliate and take revenge, and it’s the Indians, who are guilty of provoking them into doing unruly things.

Mr Varadrajan, who was asked to leave The Hindu in October last year, betrayed this belief on Twitter when he replied to Shekhar Gupta, former editor of The Indian Express.

Middle finger by Pakistani hockey players after Champions Trophy victory over India
One of the obscene gestures by Pakistani hockey players before they become even more aggressive and obscene, removing clothes and swearing at the Indian spectators.

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Shekhar Gupta had tweeted condemning Pakistani hockey players for their unruly and obscene behaviour on the field after winning the semi-final match against India during Champions Trophy.

It should be noted that everyone, including the Pakistani coach, had condemned the Pakistani players for their behaviour. It was deemed a serious breach of discipline and World Hockey suspended two players for the shameful act.

But Siddharth Varadarajan jumped to defend the Pakistani players by objecting to the tweet of Shekhar Gupta. He justified the shameful behaviour by claiming that Pakistani players were earlier “provoked” by the Indian unruly crowd.

Please note that this argument is almost similar to what rapists or bigots put forward – that they were “provoked” and thus committed the crime.

It is ironical that the same set of people like Varadarajan preach tolerance to everyone, but jump to defend Pakistanis and “fellow travellers” when they behave like intolerant bullies.

Earlier, Rajdeep Sardesai’s attack on an NRI was also justified by the same people on the ground that Rajdeep was “provoked” by the crowd before he abused and physically assaulted an NRI.

However, Mr Varadrajan seems to believe that Pakistan has some special privileges regarding this “right to retaliate”. And he has a history to it.

As editor of The Hindu, Mr Varadrajan had got the newspaper to publish a report that virtually justified beheadings of Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army.

The report, to which the Defense Ministry had then objected, had a similar tone to what got reflected in Varadarajan’s tweet. It gave examples of how the Indian army had “provoked” the Pakistani army before Pakistan decided to retaliate by beheading some Indian soldiers.

In wake of this, it is hardly surprising that Varadarajan decided to justify the act of Pakistani hockey players. After all, this is nothing compared to justifying the aggression by the Pakistani army.

While Mr Varadrajan has full rights to believe what he says and prefer Pakistan over India because he is not even an Indian citizen (he is a US citizen), would expect a bit more objectivity and fairness from him in India-Pakistan matters.

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