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What is Acceptability?
|by Ananya S Guha|
An eminent columnist writing recently in the Times Of India had a few strange things to say about Afzal Guru's execution. But that is perhaps not strange. Many columnists say whatever they want to especially eminent ones. Lesser mortals like us are admonished with strictures if the public does not accept our views. Now with the advent of citizen journalism people speak more vociferously and they are even heard.
This venerable gentleman first mourned the hanging of Afzal Guru and then wondered why people were rejoicing at it. Who was rejoicing? The general mood in the country was sombre, no one exults in an individual's death. Our country men by and large are empathetic and decent when it comes to death at least. Secondly he compared this kind of criminality with the recent rape in New Delhi. Where is the comparison? One was an attack on democracy symbolized by the Parliament and the other was a heinous act by some young men who because of this perpetration do not deserve to live. Ironically it seems that at least one will.
Thirdly he invoked the name of the Maoists, calling them the worst kind of murderers. Should they also be hanged? he asked rhetorically and dramatically. What a fatuous question. What about the other extremists then, in fact the kin of Afzal Guru? I wonder what was the point of such an article, an article playing to the gallery, an article trying to prove how humane you are? Humaneness springs out of love and action, not empty words and platitudes. I was sorely disappointed, because here is a columnist of repute and he spoke of circumstantial evidence that Afzal Guru was guilty. What is circumstantial evidence? It is evidence that proves, circumstances that prove that you were there when the attack took place. Every country has its own laws, and the Parliament represents such laws, attack it is assailing democracy in all its forms. It is blasphemy, it is tantamount to murder. The entire Parliament then was unequivocal about condemning this dastardly act.
Why should we soft pedal? Why should we retract our feelings? Why bring in the issue of rape, which is extraneous to the subject matter? What has the question of rape got to do with this? We are talking of elements who terrorize, elements who want to destroy the country and create hatred on the basis of community and religion.
That cannot by any account be tolerated, just as the pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat is not acceptable.
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