Spoilt sons of powerful political pops have long been the blight of India. Some, drunk on power and inherited sense of entitlement, run over the helpless poor sleeping on the footpath, others shoot dead in cold blood victims who dare to overtake them on highway although keeping well within traffic rules. Befriending the women in their family is a life-threatening hazard and accidentally causing a dent in their expensive vehicles or inflated fragile egos run the same risk.
Ordinary citizen has no remedy or redress against such crimes. From Jessica Lal to Nitish Katara and Priyadarshini Mattoo, such cases have exposed the impotence of agencies responsible for law. Only in a few rare cases the intervention of the Supreme Court has resulted in some relief to the aggrieved parties. But we digress.
What we have witnessed in recent days is the utter breakdown of the rule of law caused by most deplorable conduct of persons who are not only notorious usual suspects—scions of political clans—but most unfortunately for us have themselves been elected to office as members of legislative assemblies and even the Parliament.
Perhaps we should be grateful to Akash Vijayvargiya, the first-time MLA from Indore, for indulging in hooliganism of worst order that constrained the prime minister to condemn such conduct in strong words. Although he didn’t name anyone, no one was left in any doubt about who was being targeted. Till then, the worthy father of the delinquent son had tried to dismiss the distressing incident as a trifling matter resulting from avoidable misunderstanding and lack of maturity and experience on both sides. The video that had gone viral left no scope for such charitable interpretation.
Akash was clearly seen assaulting the cowering government servant with a cricket bat sadistically. The representative of the people when released on bail was welcomed with floral garlands and sweets as if he had singlehandedly brought home the World Cup. He expressed no regret; on the contrary, announced brazenly that this is what the Sangh trains youngsters like him to do—first apply, then request and finally bash up the ‘deaf’ official!
The prime minister was constrained to state unambiguously that such persons and those who welcomed him after securing bail have no place in the party. Chastened after the warning, Vijayvargiya Sr has tried his best to damage-control and, likening Narendra Modi to Akash’s grandfather, has assured us that things will soon improve. Who is going to wait for the promised improvement? What people want is justice—swift and exemplary deterrent punishment. Many days have passed but only a show cause notice has been issued so far. True, a case has been registered but law in this country takes a very long time to take its course.
Witnesses routinely turn hostile and investigation falters. But let us not prejudge and hope that the impulsive arrogant young man is shown the door. As if these were not shocking enough, Nitish Rane, a Congress MLA in Maharashtra and a former CM’s son, decided to pour a bucketful of dirty water on an engineer who had incurred his wrath. A Shiv Sena corporator in another incident thrashed a chicken merchant over a parking space dispute.
These aren’t stray incidents. Elected representatives of the people clad with myriad privileges and immunities have come to believe that as law makers they themselves are above the law. Guarded by armed escorts they get into a fracas with public servants on duty and habitually create nuisance at airports, railway stations, hospitals, hotels and toll plazas. This is a pan-India phenomenon.
Dust hadn’t settled on the Vijayvargiya and Rane affair when Ram Shankar Katheria, a BJP MP, got embroiled in a most unseemly controversy. Supporters and followers in his entourage were enraged when asked to pay toll tax. In the ensuing brawl blows were showered on employees deployed at the barrier. Once again the video footage from installed CCTV cameras clearly shows the unprovoked high-handedness of the politician’s retinue.
An accompanying gunman created panic by firing in the air. Now we are being told not to jump the gun and wait for the other side’s version of this ugly incident. BJP spokespersons are tirelessly extolling the virtues of the MP, his mild manners and stellar performance at the grassroots. No one is distracted by such diversions any more. Sadly no political party can claim that it is free from malevolent musclemen.
What people on the street are worried about is the steady erosion of the rule of law. Unless such conduct is declared intolerable and dealt with sternly as a criminal offence, the country is heading for disaster. Irresponsible behaviour of ‘leaders’ can only encourage predatory lynch mobs roaming the streets. Prowess with cricket bats should be displayed on the crease. No case of violence should be allowed to go unpunished. Slide to anarchy needs to be checked at once. email@example.com