Monday, October 18, 2010

Voice your disapproval to NDTV for the irresponsible debates on Ayodhya verdict.

Please sign the petition to register your disapproval for the way NDTV conducted the shows and debates on Ayodhya verdict that exhibited all ingredients to widen the chasm between the two communities,  exacerbate tensions and lead to a climate of mutual hatred and ill-will.

From the petition:-

We as concerned citizens interested in fostering a climate of amity and goodwill between various communities in the country take strong exception to the following aspects of the post-verdict debates and do hope you will remedy them in future:

1. For instance if your moderator, Ms. Barkha Dutt allows one side to harp on December 6 1992 ad nauseum, as if India's history really began on that day or as if that was the only incident responsible for Hindu-Muslim tensions, she could willy-nilly appear to be taking sides in the debate.

2. The other side could equally well argue that December 6 1992 was merely the culmination of a process of alienation of Hindus aggrieved by centuries of victimisation under alien rulers and decades of discrimination under pseudo-secular Indian rulers. But the fact of the matter is that they don't get to voice their side of the argument because they are not allowed to, which gives one an impression that Ms. Barkha Dutt is taking sides.

3. One could ask with equal legitimacy, why the 1989-90 events should not be considered a watershed in Hindu-Muslim relations as it was during this period the Kashmir valley was cleansed of its Hindu population, leading to the exile of between 350000 and 400000 Pandits in their own homeland?

However Ms. Dutt and the panelists on the show stubbornly refuse to countenance the question as for them the concept of secularism means one thing in Jammu & Kashmir and quite a different thing in the rest of India.

Of course Ms. Dutt is entitled to her views but if airing her views is likely to add to the belligerence that is already prevalent in the air should she not restrain herself from airing them?

4. We are pained to observe that those who advised that everyone should respect the judicial verdict and the country has moved on till the day of the judgment suddenly began denouncing it as soon as it was delivered. Legal experts say that it would take at least a few weeks to read and digest the 8000+ pages verdict but panellists on your channel were allowed to denounce it almost as soon it was delivered.

5. Panelists who oppose the construction of the Sri Ram Mandir were asked loaded questions like were you disappointed with the verdict? As you are aware, in legal parlance such questions are characterised as leading calling for a conclusion from the witness. This obviously means that the panelist would have to take a stance from which it is impossible to reconcile later even if one wanted to. As Ayodhya is a sensitive issue and is likely to inflame passions on both sides of the divide could such provocative questions be not avoided?

6. In some instances Ms. Dutt was animatedly participating than moderating the debate. She could have opposed or at least protested voicing diatribe as comment, like describing the verdict as a Panchayat settlement.

7. We believe panellists who support the court verdict could have been given more time. The court has indeed given an opportunity to the two sides to bury their differences and come to an amicable solution. Would not an amicable solution at this stage help the nation to move on as indeed it should?

8. The moderator on several occasions used the word dissenting judge while alluding to one of the judges on the bench, which gave the verdict. As different judges agreed / differed on different aspects of the complex issue, it would be unfair to selectively use the word dissenting judge depending ones view point and convenience.

9. As the verdict is being slowly digested and excerpts appear on various Internet fora it is now abundantly clear that the Honourable justices have in fact based their judgment on hard evidence and not on faith of the majority religion as large sections of the media seem to imply.

10. Transcripts of evidence tendered by the historians, archaeologists and other expert witnesses of the Sunni Wakf Board, their cross-examination by the defendants lawyers and the observations of the Honourable justices should leave no one in doubt that the Sunni Wakf Board has no case at all and that the Masjid was in fact built on the ruins of a temple or a existing temple was destroyed to build the Masjid.

In spite of overwhelming evidence supporting the claim of a temple having either existed or demolished on that site should the media harp on its faith-prevailing-over-evidence line thus tarnishing the image of the judiciary, the court of last resort for the common citizen? Will it not weaken the common citizen's faith in the democratic institutions of the country?

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