news Monday, April 06, 2015 - 13:12

The News Minute| January 23, 2015| 11.30 pm IST

India's leaders mourned and paid respects to deceased Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. A one-day national mourning on Saturday in his respect has also been announced.

The national flag will be flown at half mast throughout the day across India. The President and Prime Minister have said he was a "guiding force" and a "close friend" of India. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recalled the Saudi king as one who in general was considerate to Indians, particularly to Keralites.

All the mourning is of course to set the right diplomatic tone, but let’s not forget reality.

As the Guardian said, “King Abdullah embodied the wickedness of Saudi Arabia’s regime.”

Saudi Arabia has been a proponent of harsh interpretation of sharia law, public beheadings are practiced, liberal thought is an offense and the country has also been pretty secretive about its use of capital punishment.

Middle East Eye, a website that has been critical of Saudi Arabia, put out this graphic some days ago, which shows that when it came to punishing people, Saudi Arabia was not too different from the terrorist organisation Islamic State.

Saudi

Less than a week ago, human rights activists released a video that showed the public execution of a woman. This resulted in an outcry across the world, questioning how the country applied death penalty.

Blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to a total of 1,000 lashes for his blogs that questioned how Islam was being interpreted. Only a small portion of the punishment has been meted out to Badawi and the incident has exposed Saudi kingdom’s intolerance.

Raif Badawi Flogged (You Tube) 0

Raif Badawi getting flogged

The world expects no great change in Saudi Arabia’s policy, as King Abdullah's half-brother King Salman takes over. 

But maybe, remembering those who epitomised wickedness as good people after death is what diplomacy is all about.

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