Curbing lawlessness

During the past few days several cases of violence and lawlessness have come from different parts of the country. In Uttar Pradesh, slaughter houses – irrespective of whether they are ‘legal or ‘illegal’ – have been forcibly closed down. A BJP MLA has publicly warned that he will ‘break the legs’ of those ‘disrespecting’ and killing cows. The lawmaker has threatened to take the law in his own hands. In Gujarat, communal clashes targeting Muslims have been reported. In West Bengal, poets are being trolled for writing poems that have allegedly hurt the sentiments of a certain section of Hindus. From Uttar Pradesh and NOIDA have come reports of a spate of racial violence targeted against African students. This last at a time when Indians or people of Indian origin are being targeted and killed in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Before the elections, the charge of the opposition against the Akhilesh Yadav government was that under it lawlessness or goonda raj had become rampant. That government has been voted out and those who promised to bring back law and order have been voted to power. But things do not appear to have changed. Violence targeting the weak and the defenceless continues.  The worst is the attack on African students. It betrays a xenophobia which is new in this country. Some Nigerian students are alleged to be trafficking in narcotics. If true, it is for the police to inquire, find out the truth and then take action under the law against the guilty. Kangaroo courts are a shame on any civilized and democratic country.
There are constitutionally elected governments at the Centre and the States. No government worth its salt can allow rowdies to take to the streets on any pretext and mete out summary justice to all and sundry. If stern and timely action is not taken against these elements then the country will slip into anarchy. What is worse is that these elements are perceived to be enjoying State patronage or protection. The MP who prided himself on the fact that he had slapped an Air India official twenty-five times, or the MLA who publicly threatened to do physical harm to anyone he considers is ‘disrespecting’ cows are going scot-free. No legal action has been taken against either. If action is not taken against aberrant law-makers and the unruly dealt with strongly, the situation may spin out of control. To quote a famous line from Tagore, everyone will think that all are kings in the kingdom of the present king. That must not be allowed to happen.

Saturday, 1 April, 2017