Congress mouthpiece 'National Herald' on Sunday had to issue an apology after the publication carried a controversial editorial piece regarding the Supreme Court's unanimous judgment in the highly-sensitive Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. The newspaper, in its editorial, had published a piece titled, "Why a devout Hindu will never pray at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya", along with a cartoon comparing the 1992 Ayodhya with 2019 Supreme Court.
The National Herald virtually disrespected the apex judicial authority in the country by publishing a controversial cartoon, having pictures of 1992 Ayodhya and 2019 Supreme Court, with text reading, 'Whose stick. His buffalo.' The collage picture is accompanied by a caption, 'Can God dwell in a temple built with force, violence and bloodshed? Even if God decides to reside there, can we ever pray in such a temple?'
The controversial action caused much furore among netizens, some of who saw the clear bias and took offence in the blatant disregard of a democratic republic's supreme judicial authority. Some even called it 'Pakistan-funded journalism' after a report in the publication titled, "Why the Ayodhya verdict reminds us of the Supreme Court in Pakistan".
After the huge uproar, however, National Herald sought to correct its actions and published an apology. "We apologise if the article ‘Why a devout Hindu...’ hurt anyone or any group’s sentiments. That was not our intention. The views expressed in the article are the author’s personal views. National Herald fully respects the SC verdict," the apology stated.
Earlier in the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongly criticised the Congress over its mouthpiece National Herald and said that it shows what exactly is the viewpoint of the party. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "There is no better justice system in the entire world than the Supreme Court of India and the justice system of India. By raising a finger on the country's judicial system, National Herald is embarrassing the country".
The apology was especially demanded since the Indian National Congress had formally endorsed the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict earlier, and the party mouthpiece now publishing a piece disrespecting it seems like a double-standard.
"Supreme Court's verdict has come, we are in favour of the construction of Ram Temple. This judgment not only opened the doors for the temple's construction but also closed the doors for BJP and others to politicise the issue," Congress' Randeep Surjewala had said earlier. Netizens wondered, then, why the party's mouthpiece itself was politicising the issue.
The National Herald is an Indian newspaper founded by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938.