‘Bid to wage civil war’: Why a former BBC journalist moved SC over hate speech

The Supreme Court is likely to hear the matter again tomorrow.

WrittenBy:Akanksha Kumar
Date:
   
His father Captain Abbas Ali Khan was part of Bose's Azad Hind Fauj.

Covering communalism as a journalist

As a journalist with almost four decades of experience , life does seem to come full circle for Ali who has covered several episodes of communal violence – from the Hashimpura and Maliana violence in 1987 to the 2002 Gujarat carnage. He has a word of caution, attributing the rise of communalism to the Congress too, besides the “designs” of a political ideology trying to pave the way for a Hindu Rashtra. And hate speech is just a byproduct of communal politics.

Born in a political family, his father Captain Abbas Ali Khan was a freedom fighter who had fought alongside Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as part of the Azad Hind Fauj or INA. His father’s photograph still adorns the small library at his house in Delhi, nestled between books on Indian history. 

“Victims seldom get a sense of closure. They often ask what is justice,” Ali said while recalling his experience of covering communal violence. Referring to the lack of rehabilitation and the arduous legal battles faced by victims, he said, “You take the example of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Have all the accused been punished? Even the 1987 riots that I covered, security personnel were (allegedly) involved…can we still call ourselves a civilised country?”

Research assistance by Shambhavi Ranjan.

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