Declining faith in statutory bodies

There are worrying signs that people’s faith in the statutory bodies of the State, like the Central Vigilance Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG), the Election Commission, etc, is declining. This is most noticeable in the case of the law-enforcing agencies like the police and the criminal investigation department. The latest report of the Central Vigilance Commission, submitted to Parliament last week, says there has been a significant drop in the number of complaints made to it. In 2017 the CVC received 23,069 complaints which is less than half of the number in 2016, which was about 50,000. Several factors may be responsible. But the most likely cause, according to CVC official themselves, is that the public is losing its trust in the anti-corruption bodies.
Far worse is the case with the police and its investigating bodies like the CID, CBI, ED, SFIO, etc. The general public impression is that these bodies do not act professionally and impartially but act according to the dictates and wishes of the party in power. The latest and most glaring instance of this is the rape case in Kathua, in the Hindu-majority Jammu district of Kashmir. An eight-year old girl from a nomad Muslim community was held captive and raped for several days, of all places, in a temple, and then murdered. The incident led to communal tension. The police arrested the accused but were prevented from producing them at the Kathua court because, of all persons, the lawyers prevented their production. They wanted a CBI inquiry. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah reacted angrily: “Shame on them and their political masters.”
The lawyers, who prevented the majesty of the law from taking its own course, obviously hope that the CBI will absolve the accused of the charges of rape and murder, knowing what their ‘political masters’ want them to do. If, indeed, the accused are allowed to get scot free, it will only accentuate the process of alienation of the people of Kashmir from India, while the need is to deepen their sense of identity with India. One trauma after another has been inflicted on the psyche of the Kashmiris by different people and different agencies of the State, accelerating the process of alienation. Eventually, it may recoil on all of us, causing irreparable and irremediable damage. If the ‘political masters’ want it, they can still stop this process and start the reverse process of Kashmiri people’s emotional identification with India.

Wednesday, 18 April, 2018