Friday, April 23, 2021
Home Opinions Dear media, don’t misreport, misrepresent and communalize Yakub Memon

Dear media, don’t misreport, misrepresent and communalize Yakub Memon

Many things have been said in the last few days about the hanging of the 1993 Mumbai bombings convict Yakub Memon. Divisions in India’s society have been thrown out into the open and the last straw was when media reports published pictures showing thousands at Memon’s funeral. This was perhaps the first time in Free India’s history that a hanged convict was being given a tearful farewell by thousands, and ideologues have jumped to conclude hideous ideas about India and its society.

Crowd gathered to receive the dead body of Yakub Memon
Crowd gathered to receive the dead body of Yakub Memon

It’s important to know what the Yakub Memon debate truly is about. It all started when a leading media house published an article written by B Raman, the former counter-terrorism head of RAW who had overseen the operation to capture Memon. Raman, in his article, had explained why he thought Memon shouldn’t be hanged, pointing out that Memon had in fact mulled over surrendering to Indian authorities and on capture, had even asked his family members holed up in Pakistan to turn themselves in. Naturally, Raman’s article evoked much interest in the public. Many wondered if the man who nabbed Memon believed that the latter was innocent. Sections of the media, for one, did make it seem that way and many who turned up for Memon’s funeral on Thursday likely thought so too. Even educated citizens, regardless of religion, were misled by the representation of Raman’s views by sections of the media.

Some journalists went so far as to juxtapose the debate on the death penalty with the one on Yakub Memon. In the process, several people were ostracized for speaking in favor of abolishing the death penalty, regardless of whether they thought Yakub Memon was innocent or not. It seems strange that one can’t consider the fact that many of these commentators were simply calling for a debate on removing the death penalty from India’s law books, while simultaneously believing that India must be tough on terror.

What is most unfortunate about the misled debate on this issue is the communalization of it all. As it turns out, fundamentalists in both religious communities have misused the discourse to show that all Muslims were hurt by the hanging of Yakub Memon, or that Yakub Memon was innocent and wronged. Neither is true. The Indian Muslim community does not sympathize with terrorists (Muslims in Mumbai pointedly refused to bury the body of Ajmal Kasab in their graveyard), nor do they believe that they are under attack by the Hindu community, as is being insinuated by some fundamentalists.

Yes, thousands turned up for the funeral, but it is well possible that most of them were brainwashed by the misreporting and misrepresentation of facts into believing that Memon was wrongly hanged, even if he wasn’t entirely innocent. In fact, given the several misleading media reports that one has been reading over the last few days, such a conclusion doesn’t seem absurd at all. To generalize such pictures and in fact question the nationalistic character of India’s Muslims is preposterous.

Media houses inciting people to communalize the event
Media houses inciting people to communalize the event

As for Yakub Memon himself, he was found guilty by the judiciary after due process of law, and hanged. Memon was given a completely fair trial for over two decades. His mercy plea was heard by both the President and multiple benches of the Supreme Court multiple times. In fact, the Supreme Court opened its doors at 2 am for the first time in history in order to consider his plea for clemency one last time. To insinuate that Memon was wronged under the law is therefore ridiculous.

India has executed only 4 people in the last 15 years and the Supreme Court upholds less than 5% of death sentences that come to it on appeal (certainly, many Muslims have had their death sentences commuted too). The fact that the same system, after all due processes of law, decided after multiple considerations that Memon must be hanged clearly suggests that there was no illegality or arbitrariness.

As for Raman’s view on the case, the former RAW official never held that Memon was innocent. His version merely suggested that should India have dealt less harshly with Memon, the RAW might have succeeded in luring other terrorists from out of the ISI’s clutches (Raman noted that Memon was attempting to flee from the ISI). This might have been a strategic move, but strategy isn’t the domain of the judiciary; courts decide upon a case based on its merits and based on existing law.

A sensitive issue such as this needs to be dealt with responsibly by those of us in the media. Misreporting and misrepresentation causes much harm to society and provides ammunition for sinister elements looking to divide India for political gain. The Memon issue, in that sense, is a lesson to be learnt.

by Mohamed Zeeshan

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

Arvind Kejriwal had promised home delivery of oxygen during the first wave of COVID-19, old comments go viral

In August 2020, Arvind Kejriwal had promised that his govt would start home delivery of oxygen concentrators for Covid-19 patients

Delhi HC suggests using CNG cylinders to transport Oxygen, union govt says not possible: Understanding the technical and legal aspects

Both Gas Cylinder Rules and PESO guidelines on converting cylinders for oxygen do not permit use of CNG cylinders to carry oxygen

Paranoid China wants to tame Elon Musk, will it succeed? All you need to know about the brewing war between China and Tesla

Elon Musk headed Tesla has been facing a pressure campaign in China with Chinese Communist state-backed media and regulators

Congress leader Chidambaram wants state governments to unionise to haggle over vaccine costs: Here is why that is a bizarre idea

P. Chidambaram has managed to come up with another spectacularly braindead idea that does not make any sense.

The West does not have any moral high ground over China, their conduct during Covid crisis is further proof of it

The United States of America has projected its geopolitical rivalry with China as a great conflict between good and evil.

Arvind Kejriwal nosedives into gutter politics, spreads lies during CMs’ video conference with PM, illegally airs private meeting

As soon as the PM got to know of this fact, he reprimanded Arvind Kejriwal for breaking protocol, and the telecast was immediately stopped. Reportedly, the PM said to Kejriwal, “You have broken a very imp protocol, such private conversation are never televised”.

Recently Popular

Priyanka Gandhi’s Twitter faux pas, takes three attempts for condolence tweet

At 10:38 AM, four minutes after her first tweet, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted correct condolence message to correct intended recipient on third attempt.

NDTV journalist Gargi Rawat Ansari shows how she is willing to sacrifice human lives so propaganda continues to reign supreme

NDTV journalist Gargi Rawat Ansari is married to Yusuf Ahmad Ansari, the great-grandson of former Congress President Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari

Sitaram Yechury’s son passes away due to Covid-19

The CPI(M) General Secretary in his tweet thanked all the medical staff who treated his son Ashish Yechury

TikTok Star Funbucket Bhargav, of OMG fame, arrested for raping minor girl

TikTok Star 'Funbucket Bhargav' arrested for raping a minor. Fans of actor Nithya wrongly assumed she was the victim.

Arvind Kejriwal nosedives into gutter politics, spreads lies during CMs’ video conference with PM, illegally airs private meeting

As soon as the PM got to know of this fact, he reprimanded Arvind Kejriwal for breaking protocol, and the telecast was immediately stopped. Reportedly, the PM said to Kejriwal, “You have broken a very imp protocol, such private conversation are never televised”.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,094FansLike
531,790FollowersFollow
24,200SubscribersSubscribe