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Friday 10 July 2020

National Herald cast aspersions thrice, apologised once

The apology on a National Herald webpage refers to one article on the Ayodhya verdict; another has been deleted; there's no word on the third

Congress mouthpiece National Herald has apologised for one of its articles on the Ayodhya verdict by Supreme Court: “Why a devout Hindu will never pray at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya”. Another article, authored by Aakar Patel, said that the judgment looked like one by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The first article, for which the newspaper has apologised, was introduced to Twitter with the line “Can God reside in a temple built by force, violence and bloodshed?”

National Herald said, following an uproar on social media, “We apologise if the article headlined ‘Why a devout Hindu will never pray at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya’ hurt anyone or any group’s sentiments and feelings. That was not our intention. We fully respect the Supreme Court verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case in Ayodhya. The views expressed in the article are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of National Herald.”

This article has been pulled down from the site.

There was a third offensive article on the issue published by National Herald. Authored by veteran journalist Mrinal Pande, the piece said Ayodhya was “a city cursed by Sita”.

The BJP had demanded an apology from Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi for the articles. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had said that the article in the Congress-backed newspaper disrespected the Supreme Court verdict.

The BJP spokesperson had said, “The newspaper says that the Supreme Court took the same decision that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP wanted. There is no judiciary better than the Supreme Court of India and the Indian judicial system. Questioning them is a shameful act.”

The article by controversial NGO Amnesty International India’s Aakar Patel was also an indirect attack on the Narendra Modi government. The columnist likened the prime minister to a dictator, saying “All dictators have worked under a legal cover. We saw how General Musharraf had also acted through the court’s stamp.”

While National Herald did not apologise for Patel’s article, the website of the media house has pulled this one down, too. Mrinal Pande’s article remains on the site. But of course, this was a pre-verdict article few took note of.

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