Is murder emerging as a political weapon? The recent killings of BJP’s Tamil Nadu state general secretary Ramesh and Hindu Munnani leader S Vellaiyappan were so close that suspicions of a concerted political conspiracy were inevitable. So what should we do? Jump to that conclusion as the BJP’s three-member investigating team did or wait for a professional as distinct from a political assessment? This is where the Tamil Nadu government has set an example. The chief minister or anyone on behalf of the government avoided making any definitive statement on the murders.
Instead chief minister Jayalalithaa lost no time in appointing a special investigation division to go into the details of the cases. She even worked out an incentivisation scheme to encourage members of the public to provide useful information. By announcing these measures, she emphasised the importance of executive impartiality in political cases of this kind. The importance of this message cannot be overemphasised. It was very pertinent that Tamil Nadu’s director general of police pitched in with the statement that in many cases violence against political personalities were due to disputes over land and money and personal matters.
These are facts of life and by giving them due consideration, openly and without any reservation, the executive in Tamil Nadu has shown that the collection of evidence must precede other action. It is promptness that matters. The state government had proved its belief in promptness by responding quickly to the Dharmapuri caste conflagration by appointing a judicial commission of inquiry. We live in an age that has lost its old equilibrium. Politicians resort to any means to push ahead and governments are too lethargic too often. It will be an exemplary lesson if Tamil Nadu proves that quick action in a non-partisan spirit can provide some relief in crisis situations.