I have always had a degree of admiration for the “Indian Express“.

It was one of the few newspapers which dared to stand against the Congress during the infamous Emergency (1975-77). The editorial page of the publication was left blank for three days as a sign of protest against the Emergency. When so-called tigers like the Shiv Sena were bowing their heads low before the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Indian Express had the courage to stand up for the freedom of the press. It was the standard against which other newspapers were judged.

It seems that things have changed nowadays at the Indian Express, though. Yesterday’s edition carried a report about suspected Indian Mujahideen kingpin Sadik Sheikh. Sheikh was arrested in November last year after the Delhi blasts.

A video recording of the statement given by Sheikh to the police was made, and apparently obtained by the Indian Express.

The Indian Express has a copy of the video recording of Sheikh speaking in custody, during which he talks about his role in organising six blasts across the country in a span of five years as well as the shootout outside the American Center in Kolkata in 2002.”

Apparently, Sheikh had a change of heart after reading the stories published in the Indian Express about the family members of those killed in the Mumbai blasts of July, 2006.

However, the other terrorists did not.

“The group got emboldened after the blasts. Atif became very aggressive and would say we should explode more bombs. Before 7/11, blasts would happen every 5-6 months. But after I had a change of heart I started avoiding Atif. I did that until March and there were no blasts during this period.

Sheikh’s ‘change of heart’ did not last, though, and he

goes on to say that he succumbed to Bhatkal’s pressure and the group started planning for the Ahmedabad blasts in March 2007. Besides the Ahmedabad blasts last year and the 7/11 blasts, Sheikh also talks about his role in the Gorakhpur blast in May 2007, the blasts in courts in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007 and the Jaipur and Delhi blasts last year. “

So much for the tender-hearted terrorist’s change of heart.

I truly do not understand what the reporter wants to convey here.

That we should not punish Sheikh because he has now had a ‘change of heart’?

Or maybe that the way to avoid further terror attacks is to publish human interest stories about the victims and their families?

Maybe they are saying that we should not bother about building up our military capabilities against further attacks, when there is such a simple remedy?

Perhaps we should send some reporters to Pakistan, to teach them how to combat the Taliban through news reports?

I think that the unhealthy competition between the print media and the news channels is lowering the standards of both.

What do you think?