Two sides of an issue

November 19, 2019
Two sides of an issue

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

My recent article on the verdict by the Indian Supreme Court on the Babri Mosque/Ayodhya issue elicited some very strong responses from readers, many in support of what I had stated and some strongly opposed to what I had written.

One such reader went to the extent of addressing the President and Prime Minister of India to intervene on his behalf and set me straight. He wrote:

“Dear President, Supreme Court of India and PMO,

While India and Saudi Arabia enjoy a relationship, there are many puppets of Pakistan in Saudi journalism, who keep bashing India with lies and false narratives.

“The so-called-journalist who is in CC of this email is one such personality.

“But now he has gone to the further extent of assaulting the Indian judicial system, which is very fair, which even gave a good hearing for Pakistan terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

“But as it is very much convenient for him, this journalist keeps mum on Pakistan wrongdoings (be it 26/11, Uri, ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, etc.)

“But as an Indian citizen, I feel he crossed all limits when he commented on the Indian Supreme Court verdict (contempt of court) that too by spreading lies and hatred.

“Just wondering, what right does he have to comment on another country’s internal affairs? Freedom of expression does not mean one can omit whatever he wants. Freedom comes with responsibility.

“As an Indian citizen, I urge you to take this matter up with the Saudi authorities for all the false narratives, hateful venom that this author is generating.

“Thanks and regards / A concerned Indian Citizen.”

On the other side, one Indian wrote to me: “Mr. Maeena, I was astonished that there was not a word about Kashmir which is being held for more than three months under heavy paramilitary agencies and also without means of communication.

“However we are not forgetting that mobile phone services were restored and that too in a restricted way. The services were restored after more than two months of no service.

“That same day I received a phone call from a Kashmir resident congratulating me that we had got this facility back that day. I was shocked and immediately I remembered the story of the famous dictator Stalin and a tiny helpless chicken.

“The decision by our Supreme Court was a social verdict and not a judicial verdict. They did that to appeal to the Modi government and hardline Hindu followers. Where is the court’s independence? Mr. Maeena, please read my letter. This is exactly what the Indian government has done with Kashmiri Muslims. What can be the role of free citizens of the world in standing in support of 220 million Muslims? An Indian.”

So, there you have it. The ayes against the nays. But there is no denying that Kashmir has been under lockdown for more than 100 days, a move that global human rights organizations are calling an illegal act of suppression and terror.

Undoubtedly, the pros and cons will be debated for some time, as will the Kashmir issue that will not just evaporate into thin air.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

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