Criminals in Parliament
By Maxwell Pereira
maxpk@vsnl.com

How disgusting and disgraceful it was for us to watch on our ‘idiot box’ screens on Monday 21 March, the scenes of someone accused of murder and notoriously known to be a criminal involved in many more heinous crimes, take oath in the nation’s Parliament as an honourable Member! Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav – a person who wielded influence and flaunted muscle power from within the jail where he was incarcerated, by holding durbars and violating every rule and regulation in the jail manual. This had warranted the Supreme Court of India to transfer him to Delhi’s Tihar jail, so that distance and better supervision here could control and negate his propensity to rig the impending poll, even from within Patna’s Beur jail.

It is the very same Apex Court that finds its hands tied then, to permit this individual his right to go to Parliament and take oath as a Member, five months after being eligible to do so, because he has been duly elected by the voters of Madhepura – his constituency in Bihar. To represent them and be part of the august body that guides and determines the destinies of the people, and makes laws for us all to respect and obey.

Duly elected! ….yes, the very same argument that we have presented to the United States to justify our protest at their ‘insulting’ us by denying Narendar Modi a visa to visit their country. The man denounced by our own National Human Rights Commission, and scores of others, as responsible for the failure of State agencies functioning under him in that not-to-be-remembered hoary-past-of-Godhra-related-history of 2002-Gujarat, to protect the fundamental rights of sections of its people!

What is it that makes us people of India, ‘duly’ elect ‘such’ people to represent us! Are we Indians as a whole a criminal minded people, devoid of scruples with no actual sense for the right from the wrong? Or do we cherish a ‘warped’ sense of what is ‘right’ which makes no sense to the majority of humankind! How and why is it that we make heroes of our criminals and law-breakers?

Never in the history of 58 years of our Independence have I known such unprecedented expressed desire of a people for President’s Rule – as was witnessed recently, when Central rule was imposed on Bihar consequent to the imbroglio and electoral stalemate that followed the state assembly elections.

Then it took President’s rule, for the frustrated Patna High Court to reveal to all that 20,000 people with non-bailable warrants of arrest against them are roaming about without fear of the law. Even in the run up to these elections, the state was plagued with kidnappings the likes of Kishlay Kaushal which in effect merely highlighted to all what we already knew – the actual deplorable state of affairs there.
Why is it that Bihar police could not arrest these so called ‘absonders’ and come down heavily on all those kidnappers and extortionists whose free run had forced the Bihar Chapter of the Indian Medical Association to petition the court for protection to its members targeted by these criminals? Is it because many of these culprits belonged to the party that ruled the state brazenly and even managed ministerial berths to some in the state and at the centre?

When a former police chief in this state fell out with his chief minister not too long ago, he spared nothing to expose the politico-criminals and declare that criminal content among politicians had led to a criminal-police nexus operating hand in glove. That all kidnappings and most murders are committed under full protection of the police and assurance that no action will follow. Reports indicate, around 80,000 people were killed and another 40,000 subjected to kidnapping and extortion in the past decade and a half – all linked to less than a dozen persons running gangs 15 to 200 in strength, who kidnap, murder and organize lootings.

It is this pervading sense of insecurity consequent to the unabated spiralling crime over the years, which has resulted in the people welcoming the President’s rule. Battling crime on priority, is what the people expect, and are clamouring for. Not mere lip service from politicians both in the State and the Centre who did nothing about it all these years.

Yesterday, I had a visitor from Bihar – Dubey my old trusted retainer, who had cooked for the family and been the major-domo around the house for long. Like lakhs of Biharis, he too had come to Delhi to seek his fortune, raised a family and married off his children, all through honest earnings through an autorickshaw for which we had stood guarantee. He returned to his village in Arrah, when elders left behind departed to the nether world. Relief writ large on his face, he told me there is now a silver lining on the horizon. God appears to be smiling on Bihar finally to remove people’s woes, he said. President’s rule has brought hope to his eyes.

It is distressing at the same time, to also read reports on the cynicism that is expressed in certain quarters: That President’s rule is not forever. The crime syndicates and their politician-police patrons have only to bide their time and lie low for a while. So the challenge before the Bihar Governor is not only to stop crime, but to wipe out criminals so that they never return. This, only by arresting all those 20,000 roaming around with non-bailable warrants of arrest against them, and a firm resolve to investigate and prosecute each and every case pending against them, to break once and for all the unholy nexus that did not let the hands of law reach them.


900 words: 22.03.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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