Monday, October 10, 2011

Nanavati Commission Report and the UPA Government: By Sandip K. Dasverma

Nanavati Commission Report and the UPA Government by Sandip K. Dasverma, Written on 8/10/2005

A massacre is a massacre and the perpetrators should be punished, irrespective of who they are. I believe the perpetrators are cowards and opportunists, who believe they can get away, with no punishment even for murder. This encourages others to follow suit. If 1984 criminals had have been punished swiftly, the1993 Bombay pogroms would not have happened, nor the 2002 genocide in Gujarat, because the criminals in 2002 would have known that there were noose and gallows for murder, at the end of the day. In all fairness, there must be exemplary punishment for both the politicians and the policemen (including those retired) to signify that no person gets away putting another's life in jeopardy, by his acts of omission or commission.

The politicians like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath, Vasant Sathe, H. K. L. Bhagat and others should be punished both by prohibiting their participation in elections (their source of power) and prosecuting them for their culpability. After all there are nearly 2800 dead bodies even per the GOI report, though the unofficial count is more than 4000. Following the great traditions established by the British Raj, citizens even today can't get a correct figure from their own government. Be it as it may, if there are 2800 dead bodies, as per Government's own admission, and not even 28 going to gallows or even getting life sentences, there is something seriously wrong with the government. People will be aghast at this mockery of justice.

It is outrageous to advance the plea that H. K. L. Bhagat should not be bothered as he is old and sick. I think this exculpatory nonsense must stop. The international standards are now being set by the prosecution of 90- year old Pinochet in Chile. Why so much compassion for a low life who did not have the same consideration for others? I remember he was given the benefit of doubt by a previous commission, while a widow and her husband's dead body were given no credence! Such is the bias of the Indian judicial system in favor of the rich and powerful. What the commissions, nine of them over 20 years, have done is to spend public money, enormous amounts of it to chip away, from the list of the accused, one at a time. And always some pliable judges have been rewarded remunerative appointments, be it in the Congress or BJP regime.

This culture of crime and its condonement must change once and for all if India is to get anywhere. We can't remain in the list of most corrupt nations, i.e., the list of least transparent nations, and continue clamoring for acceptance as a world leader in our own right. Unless we cleanse the institutional rot, like the compromised judiciary, the powerful will continue buying their way out, as has happened in the Dabhol case.

This brings us to the very vital point of speed problematic in the judicial trials in India. If criminal cases linger far too long (by design the accused always engineer it), then everyone will grow old and on "compassionate grounds" the criminals would be let go, even if they don't die naturally. The government's performance should be judged by how efficiently it can deliver justice and how soon. There is time as value which every one in the world now understands except the Indian bureaucracy and the judiciary. We must have fast track courts which should conclude such cases within two years. Yes, well before the next election, at most, so we can judge the UPA government by its actions whether it is truly secular or just expediently so? Then people in India can decide whether they commend or condemn such acts.

There is need for a law that stipulates that those whose names are recurring in nine reports should be asked to prove that they are not guilty. And this should be done expeditiously so that the affected and wronged families feel that justice was done. That way people be sure that there is a fair chance of grievances of the small fry being addressed.

Having a Sikh P.M. does not mitigate the crimes or absolve the state of its failure to punish the criminals. If tomorrow the BJP in its turn appoints a Muslim as the CM of their next Government in Gujarat, for example, it will not be absolved of the crimes of Narendra Modi government, not even if they install a Muslim as the PM of India. There should be a parallel process, another fast track court, to try and convict all the police officials and administrative staff, including those either retired or preparing to retire soon.

Again, enough resources should be put on the table for the whole process to be finished in just two years or before. This is equally important, nay more important, because it will set the standards for the present and future police against colluding with the politicians in power. Punishment even after retirement, amended laws, and removal of procedural bottlenecks along the way, will firmly ensure that justice prevails, and the vestiges of colonial rule disappear. Sycophancy will have been made risky and punishment for crime inescapably established.

May I request Dr. Manmohan Singh, the head of the Congress-led UPA Government, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the head of the Congress party, their left allies, and the bureaucracy et al for this once to rise above cronyism and let the law take its course with exemplary swiftness characteristic of modern societies in the world that India aspires to become a leading light of?

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