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When journalists tried to drag religion in Nirbhaya gangrape verdict

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Saswat Panigrahi
Political writer, policy observer.

Padmashree Rajdeep Sardesai knows the art of trolling. And he makes no bones about it. On 5 May (Thursday), minutes after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence given by the Delhi High Court to the convicts of 16 December 2012, gruesome gang-rape and murder case, Sardesai tweeted:

Rajdeep’s tweet has invited strong reactions from Twitteratis. The Tweet is disgraceful to say the least.

At a time the nation was unitedly rallying behind the Supreme Court on the much-awaited verdict, Rajdeep Sardesai showed how to stand divided. This line was soon picked up by almost every journalist and ‘activist’.

The 16 December case and the Bilkis Bano gangrape case are two different cases and must be seen in two different contexts. In the both the cases, the crime is unpardonable and the convicts do not deserve any mercy. But what is the point of bringing in a communal riot case? There are many rape-cum-murder cases, victims being Hindus, where the perpetrators have not received death cases. It is shameful that we are being forced to identify victims as per their religion, thanks to this ‘debate’ triggered by likes of Rajdeep.

If Rajdeep’s tweet was not sinister in itself, a controversial journalist called Rana Ayyub came up with even more absurd tweet:

The tweet has two glaring errors. Kausar Bi who? She is the wife of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, an arm smuggler and extortionist, who was working for Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Kausar Bi, like her husband Sohrabuddin, was allegedly killed in a “fake encounter” by Gujarat ATS in 2005. The allegation that she was raped is unsubstantiated and made by a person who changed his statements.

On the other hand, Bilkis Bano is a riot victim. It is unfair to bring both in the same bracket and Rana Ayyub did that to score brownie points. Second, Bilkis Bano is alive, but Ayyub made a fool of herself saying that she is dead.

In fact, she killed Bilkis Bano again almost an hour later, which confirmed that she was deliberately pushing a blatant lie:

Almost every journalist and ‘activist’ pushing the same communal line can not be a mere coincidence. It is time they introspect who is really communal – who can count religion of even dead bodies.

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Saswat Panigrahi
Political writer, policy observer.

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