India stands with France

India did well to join a host of other nations in standing with the French people at this time when their multi-cultural, multi-racial Republic is under threat from Islamist extremists. Prime Minister Modi in a tweet strongly condemned the Islamist terrorist attacks, including the latest in a church in Nice on Thursday. India stood with France in the fight against terrorism.

After the beheading of a schoolteacher in suburban Paris earlier, a Tunisian immigrant beheaded a woman while knifing to death two others in the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in the southern French city on Thursday. Leaders of western countries were forthright in the condemnation of the killings of innocent people while the attackers shouted 'Allahu Akbar'. No religion sanctions barbarism, least of all the cold-blooded murders of completely innocent people. But so warped is the thinking of some leaders in the Islamic world that instead of distancing themselves from the heinous criminals, they seemed to blame the victims.

The worst culprits were the Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. There may be a recent history of differences between President Emmanuel Macron and Erdogan over contrary positions in the on-going conflicts in Lebanon, Armenia-Azerbaizan, etc., but that can be no reason for the Turkish President to fan Islamic fanaticism.

Thanks to his lead in casting Macron as an anti-Islam ogre out to wipe out Muslims from France, not only Imran Khan and Mahathir Mohammed but ordinary Muslims everywhere felt emboldened. The protests in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and other Muslim nations against Macron would have shown the faith they claim to profess, and in whose defence they apparently exercised their vocal cords so loudly, had they condemned the Chechen refugee who beheaded the Paris schoolteacher and the Tunisian immigrant who beheaded a woman in the church before fatally attacking two others.

The French have been quite clear in the face of the barbaric killings: They are unwilling to wilt under the threat, come what may. The French way of life will prevail regardless of the evil Islamic terrorism. Given that India is a victim of jihadi terror, much of it exported by Pakistan but some also home-grown, it would have been fitting if those in Bhindi Bazaar, Mumbai, and in Bhopal and elsewhere in the country who targeted Macron last week had instead vented their spleen against the attackers for bringing a bad name to Islam.

Indeed, if instead of beating with shoes the posters bearing the French President’s visage, these had carried the photograph of President Xi Jinping. He has systematically sought to wipe out the last vestiges of Islam from China (as he has tried to wipe out Buddhism from Tibet to make it 100 per cent Han nation.) The persecution of more than a million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang is testified by documentary evidence. Yet, Erdogan, Imran Khan, Mahathir Mohammed have not a word to berate Xi. So much then for their commitment to defend Islam!

Brazen misuse of police

The way Mumbai Police is hounding Republic TV, it would seem it has been given a 'supari' to finish it off and dispatch its promoter and chief anchor Arnab Goswami to Arthur Road Jail. Before bank fraud fugitives Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi and others of their ilk can be brought back to populate the special cell, Mumbai Police may well want Goswami to certify its worthiness.

But the line of investigation adopted by the police in the alleged TRP scam seems to ignore a vital fact: That Arnab as a private citizen is a free agent, alone responsible for his actions, while Mumbai Police is bound 24x7 by its constitutional mandate and cannot embrace someone’s private agenda to wreak angry spleen on a private actor, however misguided and ill-intentioned he might have been. That Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery is targeting Goswami is public knowledge. But police are not a private army the way the Shiv Sena was, whose goons had regularly intimidated and bullied law-abiding citizens on suspicion of their having caused offence to their leader. Mumbai Police cannot substitute for the Sena hoods, can it?

Summoning all and sundry associated with the Republic TV, and then asking its investors to report for questioning does raise serious doubts about the actual motive of Mumbai Police. We do not approve of Arnab Goswami’s journalism. Not at all. But we defend his right to practice it the way he chooses to, and face the consequences, if any, in case he goes wrong. But using the police to settle scores and to 'teach him a lesson’ is a brazen misuse of power. It must stop immediately. Those feeling wronged by Republic TV have other legitimate avenues for seeking redress.

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Free Press Journal