I write to commend The Hindu on the editorial stand it has taken (“Don’t communalise anti-terror fight,” Sept. 26) with regard to the legal defence that Mushirul Hasan, Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia, has offered to two beleaguered students of the university arrested in connection with the Delhi serial blasts. The BJP, which is a beacon of all that is retrograde and reactionary in a polity not exactly known for its probity and ethical behaviour, has, of course, reacted the way one would expect it to react. However, all right-thinking citizens should support and defend the absolute cornerstone of jurisprudence that a person is innocent till proved guilty, not the other way round. Principles of natural justice cannot be subverted at the altar of some half-baked notions of national security.
Only a strong stand by the media as well as others pillars of our society can prevent us from sliding into a police state. I hope The Hindu will continue to take the leadership role in these matters.
Ours is a country that respects the rule of law. Every suspect is innocent until he is proved guilty under the law of the land. Any opposition to Dr Hasan’s move to provide legal aid to the students is uncalled for.
Shahnawaz ul Rahman,
Udham Singh Nagar
The fight against terrorism has been gradually taking a communal colour. It reached a high pitch with the Batla House events. The mainstream media also played a major role in making things worse. Heed is seldom given to the other side of the episode which many times turns out to be the real side. After the Batla House shootout, the mainstream media have virtually ignored news reports related to the other side.
Muslims are also unable to understand why the so-called jihadists should select election time for avenging the Babri Masjid demolition and the Gujrat pogrom. Either those who are involved are not Muslims or they are controlled by forces that stand to gain from the horrific incidents.
While I fully agree that the accused have every right to be provided with the best legal aid, I fail to understand whether it is the duty of a Vice-Chancellor to provide legal assistance to students arrested in connection with acts of terror. If the accused cannot afford the services of a lawyer, there are other ways of getting them. The government is obliged to provide legal aid to those who need it.
The Constitution gives the right to all its citizens the right to legal representation. But in a surcharged atmosphere of the kind that exists today, the Vice-Chancellor could have left it to the state to provide legal aid to the accused. At the same time, vested political groups could have avoided the knee-jerk reaction of demanding his resignation. Even the spontaneous support from the Union Human Resource Development Minister could have been more restrained.
Ushadevi Suddapalli & S.B. Rao,
Muscat It is improper to extend legal support to students suspected of involvement in terror activities. The Vice-Chancellor should, on the other hand, cooperate fully with the police. Legal aid to the students accused of terrorism will embolden other potential criminals on the campus.
The manner in which ABVP activists conducted themselves after the peace march on the Jamia campus was no doubt wrong. But Dr. Hasan’s gesture of extending legal aid to the students allegedly involved in the Delhi blasts is not appropriate either. Besides resulting in the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and two alleged terrorists, the Jamia Nagar encounter has shaken up our national intelligentsia. Rather than giving in to extremist viewpoints, both the minority and the majority communities should introspect and help find a solution to the menace of terrorism.
This refers to the notice issued by the National Human Rights Commission to the Delhi Police on the September 19 Batla House encounter at Jamia Nagar. Terrorism is the bane of society and it needs to be handled in a tough manner. If the police authorities are asked to explain their action every time a person is killed in an encounter, their morale will be affected. They will deter them from firing even at hardcore terrorists. This will be a great setback in the fight against terrorism.