In a move that has created a social media outrage, an advertisement appeared in the Tamil daily of popular newspaper, The Hindu. The advertisement reportedly pays tribute to Imam Ali, an Al Ummah terrorist. Imam Ali was a dreaded terrorist active in the state of Tamil Nadu. Invariably, his main target were Hindu monuments, temples and leaders associated with the Hindu community. An expert in making explosives, Ali was trained by the ISI.
He was the main accused in the 1993 Chennai blasts in the RSS headquarters that resulted in the death of 13 people. He had been earlier arrested for attempting the murder of a Hindu Munnani leader. He was also plotting the assassination to kill the then deputy prime minister, LK Advani and the then HRD minister, Murli Manohar Joshi. He was also involved in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts. Apart from this, several major and significant Hindu temples were on his rafar and he threatened to destroy them. The famous Meenakshi temple being one of the Hindu temples that he planned to demolish. He began his activities as a part of the All-India Jihad Committee founded by Palani Baba of Coimbatore. Later on, he worked for the Al Ummah and also formed the Islamic Defence Force (IDF).
Ali was killed during an encounter in 2002 with the Bangalore city police after evading the police for six months. Now, the advertisement which has appeared in the Tamil daily of The Hindu put by the Indian National League Party (INLP) has glorified him and runs as, “Your eyes may rest but never your dreams”. One wonders which dream they are talking about. The question that arises here is whether the INLP support those who have the dreams of killing those belonging to some other community or faith and demolishing their places of worship out of sheer hatred.
What is even more shocking is that the advertisement unabashedly dubs Imam Ali as “Shaheed”, which is an Arabic term meaning a Muslim martyr. It is flummoxing that someone who was responsible for the death of over 70 people and had nefarious designs for the future as well is being hailed as a martyr. And that too not in some communal or radical mouthpiece but in the Tamil version of one of the leading dailies.
The advertisement also carried a photo of Raja Hussain who was convicted for the murder of Hindu Munnani leader Rajagopal and served 20 years in jail. He was recently released from prison. This shows the impunity with which the lives and misdeeds of dreaded terrorist, whether alive or dead, are being celebrated openly.
The champions of free speech might try to justify this shocking incident in the name of human rights of terrorists but no State can tolerate the open glorification and celebration of the life of a dreaded terrorist. Right to free speech does not mean that terrorists and enemies of the nation are hailed as martyrs. The government is, therefore, must come down heavily and take a stern decision as far as this controversy is concerned. And as far as The Hindu is concerned, it is indeed disgraceful and unbecoming of a popular daily to allow such an advertisement to be published. It is well known that such media outlets support a particular ideology which mostly caters to the leftist spectrum of the political system. However, just because they are aligned to a particular ideology does not mean that they are entitled to allow publication of such advertisements. Propaganda of a particular ideology does not give them the license to become a source of ideological, religious and ethnic hatred. For glorifying a terrorist, The Hindu owes an apology to the nation.
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