From the Urdu press: Agony of Hashimpurahttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/from-the-urdu-press-agony-of-hashimpura/

From the Urdu press: Agony of Hashimpura

The lawyer of the victims, Vrinda Grover, is right in saying that ‘the court’s order for compensation to the victims or their families is a confirmation of the fact that custodial deaths did take place.

Few developments in recent times have agitated the Urdu press as much as the acquittal of all the accused in the Hashimpura massacre of Muslims in May 1987. Inquilab writes in its editorial on March 23: “The acquittal of all those members of Uttar Pradesh’s PAC in the Hashimpura massacre case is extremely shocking. The lawyer of the victims, Vrinda Grover, is right in saying that ‘the court’s order for compensation to the victims or their families is a confirmation of the fact that custodial deaths did take place. If, in spite of this, the investigative agencies could not identify the killers, it is their failure that raises grave questions about their functioning’… If it is admitted that these accused… were not responsible for the massacre and for throwing the victims’ bodies into a canal, the question arises as to who the persons who committed this horrendous crime were… The courts are the people’s first and last hopes but if evidence is not provided to the courts, how can the courts fulfil their responsibility of ensuring justice?… Denial of justice to those affected by the massacre is an unpardonable failure of the state government and the police. Now, approaching the higher court immediately is the only solution.”

The recollections of Vibhuti Narain Rai, retired senior IPS officer who was connected with the preliminary investigations of this case, reproduced in Roznama Khabrain (March 23) is a painful account “that is sketched in the memory like a horror film”, to quote him. “The subsequent story is the tale of a long and tortuous wait highlighting the relations between the Indian state and minorities, the non-professional conduct of the police and the crawling nature of the legal system,” Rai says.

Sonia Gandhi returns

In its March 19 editorial, Inquilab writes: “Given the Congress’s state of despondency and confusion, president Sonia Gandhi’s getting active and assuming a responsible and aggressive role has attracted widespread attention: solidarity with Manmohan Singh following the coal case summons; strong protest in Parliament over the apathy of the government to Andhra Pradesh’s problems; and leading a 14-party delegation on a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan on the issue of land acquisition have given a new dimension to the political scenario… Her acceptability as the leader by other political parties shows that despite the perceived political irrelevance of the Congress party, there has been no decline in her personal stature and the respect she commands… Against this background, the decision on whether she should continue to lead the party or if the baton should be passed to Rahul Gandhi is clearly not difficult… The question now is how this momentary and temporary unity of 14 parties can be transformed into a strong and lasting unity.”

Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on the same day, writes: “The real significance of the march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan (led by Sonia Gandhi) is that it once again sends a message to the country that the Congress has the stomach for a struggle and can even today pose a challenge to the government by getting all political parties opposed to the BJP together on a common platform.”

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Jadeed Khabar, in its editorial on March 20, writes: “If one looks at the political contours of the march of leaders of 14 opposition parties to Rashtrapati Bhavan, it would be seen as a strong front against the arbitrariness of the Modi government. It was necessary to make a government bent on taking ill-considered decisions that trample upon democracy and secular values realise that there is something called an opposition in the country.”

Celebrating Urdu’s Beauty

The Jashn-e-Rekhta organised in the capital by the sponsors of the website Rekhta.org earlier this month was a roaring success where non-Urdu knowing lovers of literature mingled with some doyens of the language known as Rekhta in the years of its early development. A leading newspaper described it as Jashn-e-Mohabbat. But, there have been voices of disapproval in some newspapers on the manner in which it was organised. Jamaat-e-Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in its commentary on March 22, wonders if the event was part of “an organised conspiracy of depriving Urdu of its script”. The paper writes: “The event was marked by extremely scholarly discussions on the present state of different oeuvres of Urdu literature. But, regrettably, Urdu itself was missing from the Jashn. There were huge banners and posters all over the place but ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’ was written on them only in the Roman script. The question was also asked if ‘Urdu is dying in the country’. Undoubtedly, Rekhta.org makes available thousands of poetic compositions and writings and some valuable rare books, a laudable effort. But everything there (unlike at Jashn-e-Rekhta) is in Urdu as well as in Roman and Devanagari scripts. And this gives the website its unique identity.”

Compiled by Seema Chishti