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Home / Opinion / Hard Knock: Editorial on SC’s stinging rebuke of Nupur Sharma

Hard Knock: Editorial on SC’s stinging rebuke of Nupur Sharma

The fact that she has managed to evade arrest for so long in spite of her transgression did not escape the Apex Court’s attention either
The larger question is, of course, this: would the rap on Ms Sharma’s knuckles from the honourable court be a deterrent to those who gain by lighting communal fires?
The larger question is, of course, this: would the rap on Ms Sharma’s knuckles from the honourable court be a deterrent to those who gain by lighting communal fires?
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The Editorial Board   |   Published 04.07.22, 03:43 AM

Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party love to project themselves as the primary custodians of the nation’s interests. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s stinging rebuke of Nupur Sharma, the former BJP spokesperson whose intemperate remarks led to fires within and without, reveals the shadow that falls — repeatedly — between deed and word of this regime. Ms Sharma had petitioned the apex court to club at least nine first information reports filed against her in different states: the highest court did not provide her any relief. It was unambiguously scathing about the petitioner’s conduct, choosing to describe her motives as mischievous with an eye on publicity and political gain. The fact that Ms Sharma has managed to evade arrest for so long in spite of her transgression did not escape the Supreme Court’s attention either. The Delhi police — it reports to the Union home ministry — has no fig leaf left to cover its inertia in this instance.

The larger question is, of course, this: would the rap on Ms Sharma’s knuckles from the honourable court be a deterrent to those who gain by lighting communal fires? After all, one swallow does not make a summer. Members of Mr Modi’s government and his admirers — a shadowy ecosystem that thrives on the pill called polarisation — have been guilty of provocations, big and small, on a number of occasions. Remedial action has been rare; censoring of such remarks from the government even rarer. Mr Modi — he has had his share of speaking with a forked tongue — has usually ignored such controversies. The political gains of division are too tempting for the BJP. His silence after Ms Sharma’s outrageous remarks — New Delhi had to douse flames that threatened to singe its strategic interests in West Asia — is a case in point. The prime minister’s unwillingness to intervene has been interpreted as a signal of endorsement by not only the party rank and file but also ideologues and an equally docile media. The Supreme Court has adhered to the brief of the case it was deliberating on. But the ambit of Mr Modi’s action is much wider. As the popularly elected leader of a pluralist republic, he must protect the nation’s social fabric from marauders. This is not a test of administrative responsibility. It is an assessment of the moral imperatives of leading India.



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