Skewed perception of criminality

first_imgThe suspected involvement of the Unnao rape accused MLA in the Rai Bareili car-truck collision only reminds us of all those law-makers who have criminal records – some with crimes likes murders, rapes, extortions, etc., which are anti-social, and some with crimes like corruption, frauds, money-laundering, terrorism, etc., which are both anti-social and anti-national, and yet others with simple offences like rioting which could also be politically motivated. Along with political defections, it is also an indicator of how money and muscle, and criminalisation of politics have usurped our democracy. However, in the backdrop of society having a skewed perception of the crime by the law-makers, questions arise whether they would ever redeem the sagging criminal justice system. Under such circumstances, the Yuva Scheme, a humble social experiment of Delhi Police to prevent crime by juvenile delinquents, is a silver lining. Also Read – A special kind of bondPeople indifferently watch all the big-time criminals, including politicians and businessmen, managing to circumvent the law. They treat it as fait accompli when thousands of crores of people’s wealth is swindled and nation is defrauded in the anti-national crime of corruption; but feel satisfied when a petty thief is clobbered to death, or a bully is killed in an encounter, sidestepping the rule of law, without ever thinking that reforming the deviants and bringing them back into the mainstream is one of the crucial aspects of the criminal justice system. Thus, the Yuva Scheme is a commendable effort to wean vulnerable juveniles from entering the world of crime. Also Read – Insider threat managementConceptualised in 2011 by the then LG of Delhi, Tejender Khanna, along with his OSD Shantonu Sen, the Commissioner of Police Niraj Kumar, and his humble-looking Joint Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, to lessen the proclivity of crime in JJ Clusters, and launched in 2012, Yuva Scheme is an innovation of sorts. While police officers were to enlist the vulnerable youngsters, education department was to plan their vocational training. All credit to Amulya Patnaik, who was already well-known for his association with Pratidhi scheme for children and women who are victims of crime, and also for his impeccable integrity. After becoming the Commissioner of Police in 2017, he expanded Yuva further by integrating it with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, and shaping it into a tie-up between Delhi Police and National Skill Development Corporation, for which he got the blessings of the new LG Anil Baijal and Home Ministry. Police began imparting job-linked skill training to youth in 22 police stations. In two years time, Yuva enrolled 9000 youngsters identified from school dropouts, juvenile offenders, victims of crime, wards of undertrials, and those vulnerable for crime from poor families for training in fields like computer operators, mobile phone repair technicians, sales associates, food and beverages, beauty and wellness course etc. And over 4000 have even been helped in getting placements. It is good to know that at least this scheme has the support of Anil Baijal, since, as the marksman of BJP in Delhi, he has only been working as the tormenter of AAP government, putting hurdles in every positive people-oriented initiative of theirs, for two obvious reasons. Firstly, to protect the high-profile accused in the cases registered by AAP government – Mukhesh Ambani and some Congress big-wigs in the corruption and fraud case in the Rs 50,000 crore KG gas basin matter; the corruption cases against Sheila Dikshit in the CWC and other matters. Further, to sabotage the efforts of Kejriwal’s government to really stop corruption in Delhi. Secondly, Congress and BJP have been unable to digest the fact that AAP won 67 of the 70 Assembly seats leaving only 3 for BJP and none for Congress. In the first matter, ACB was taken away by the Central government and was placed under the LG. However, unlike Tejender Khanna who encouraged anti-corruption drives, Baijal has done precious little. As a result, the cases against Mukhesh Ambani, Sheila Dikshit and others have gone into hibernation and corruption has become rampant. Then, with Centre and LG exercising a stranglehold on the bureaucracy, AAP is left agape about all their plans and initiatives and efforts to keep up their promises for the welfare of the people of Delhi. It even required a dharna at Raj Bhavan by the CM and his colleagues to get the approval of the LG for the schemes of door-delivery of rations, etc., and installing CCTVs in the city for women security. Yet, in spite of the suffocating circumstances, they have done exceptional work in the fields of power, water, transport, health, education, etc. It is with doggedness that they morphed the government-run schools to high standards of infrastructure and teaching, in order to help those from the weaker sections and slums and those vulnerable to crime. Thus, in all, the work of the state government of AAP and that of the Commissioner of Police are commendable initiatives that need emulation across the country to wean the susceptible youngsters from the world of crime, although these are only small measures. The larger issue of criminal justice system is, however, in the hands of the law-makers. Since they, along with the influential and powerful, are the beneficiaries, will they ever bring about the required improvements? The happenings in the country only speak otherwise. For example, while the car-truck collision incident in Rai Bareili in which the teenage Unnao gang-rape victim and her lawyer were seriously injured, and two of her relatives died are shocking, the circumstances are suspicious. As per the allegations levelled, the prime accused in raping her, the BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, who is in jail, has access to mobiles, and her security men keep him informed about her whereabouts. Further, the MLA was threatening them and the police were also pressuring her to withdraw the rape complaint. Two weeks before this incident, the victim even wrote to the CJI about the threats she was receiving. Now, the number plate of the truck was found smeared with grease. Earlier, when the teenager’s father had gone to the police to complain against the BJP MLA’s alleged rape of his daughter, he was assaulted so badly in police custody that he died. The lone witness to this ghastly crime was also found dead subsequently, raising very serious questions about law enforcers protecting criminal politicians. And now, with one of the two aunts to whom the victim had first narrated about her rape in the house of the MLA, a crucial witness dead, the trial of the rape case will suffer grievously. If the victim herself does not recover from her critical condition, the MLA will most probably walk free. The Supreme Court has even transferred the pending trial Unnao rape and other cases to Delhi. With this action of the SC, and with the public uproar, BJP that has been dragging its feet all this while with scant respect for law has now reluctantly expelled the MLA from their party. Such a state of affairs is also evident from the hundreds of encounters, rapes, communal violence, cow-vigilante lynching cases, etc., in which the police and legal machinery are being misused. In the Hashimpur encounter case in which 40 Muslims were massacred, the state police and the local courts tried to hush up the matter, and it was the Delhi High Court that convicted the accused after Supreme Court’s intervention. All such incidents only establish that the safeguards provided to protect the life and liberty of an individual are jettisoned. Influential people can take the law into their hands as in the recent massacre of Dond tribe cultivators, killing of an SHO, etc. UP is no exception. But, a crime is a crime, whether it is murder, rape, extortion, etc., which is anti-social, or whether it is corruption, fraud, etc., in government and business deals, and even in engineering political defections, etc., which is both anti-social and anti-national. One who violates the law is a criminal, whether he is a common man or a law-maker. Yet, it is because of the skewed attitude of the society that Pragya Thakur, a terror accused is an MP. Yediyurappa involved in corruption case is a CM, Pappu Yadav, involved in murders, can contest and win while in jail, Jagan Mohan Reddy with 21 serious cases against him can become the CM, so is Mayavathi and others. Yogi, with several charges of communal violence, can become CM and can drop all the charges against him. The list is unending. It is paradoxical. Even if a petty criminal case is pending against any citizen, they are not eligible to become a government servant. But, in politics, even those criminals facing serious anti-social and anti-national crimes can become honourable law-makers. Under these circumstances, there appears to be no redemption for the criminal justice system for effective and impartial delivery of justice. It is time people came out of their dementia to revisit their skewed perception of crime and ensure that those facing serious charges are rejected outright in elections. Further, those who defect parties, obviously based on inducement of power and pelf, and commit an anti-national crime of corruption, should be socially boycotted in their constituencies. In addition, demand for prompt and effective delivery of justice, prevention and detection of every kind of crime should grow. Meanwhile, police, on their part, should follow the Yuva example across the country at least to prevent normal crime and reform the youngsters. (Dr. N Dilip Kumar, IPS (retd) is a former Member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img

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