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Focus on effective law enforcement: Civil society and government agencies need to be in sync

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By Nabeel A Khan

Insensitivity, vandalism and oppression in a democracy are the worst scourge. Unfortunately we, the Indians, have become used to it. The most vital reason for this is the lack of fine balance between the rights and duties. It is correct that protest is pride of democracy, and oppression, restriction is a blot on the form of people’s governance. Last week, we have seen restriction and oppression by the government as well as protests from the civil society transcending its civilized limitations.

The government should respect its duty of allowing its people the right to protest, while at the same time citizens need to understand their responsibility and not to turn the protest into vandalism and hooliganism. A wrong cannot be right through a wrong act or means.
The idea is not meant to preach, but a gist of an ideal situation which is nothing less than a euphoric thought in the current situation.

However, we must congratulate ourselves for the peace and patience we maintained in the majority part of the protest. Emotional issues like this, most often weakens our intelligence and we tend to succumb to some malicious, conceited and politically motivated forces. This happens because of a preconceived notion – the moment we come on the roads we treat government and its agencies as our enemy. We need to remember that, the system has not been imposed by a third party but we have made it. So the fight is with us only.


The essence of the movement/protest should not be emotional, but a logical one. The demand should be well chalked out, precise and efficacious. But, our logic and intelligence is most often overpowered by storm of emotional outburst. We most often ask for a new legislation, which is apparently the most convenient thing to do for any government. We did it during the Lokpal, Mumbai attacks or current brutal rape case in the national capital. It’s not that we don’t have legislation or agency to punish/investigate the rapists, corrupt, and a terrorist. We have well established agencies and laws, but what we need is effective enforcement of the law. Death penalty for rape is being demanded, but where is the guarantee that it won't be misused by girls and women folk to settle scores or the rapists won't finish off the victims? Certainly, the one of the most valid concerns raised by the experts is that the chances of victim being killed becomes more, if the death penalty becomes the norm. At the same time this could be misused. The other debate is – can India, which is respected as a civilized nation in the world, implement death penalty in the cases of rape?

Enforce Law

We don’t lack laws. What we lack is the implementation, and execution of law. There are lakhs of rape cases registered in the country, but they are just there for years to pass by. And at the end of the day what is the result? We see only a negligible percentage of conviction in rape cases. The other depressing factor is that when the case goes on for long, the witness tends to become cold while the victim also gets disappointed and loses hope. While, the victim is also treated almost like an accused in the current scenario. We need to make the judicial procedure more victim-friendly. The lack of conviction is one of the main reasons for inciting crime. So the right idea would be to demand for something what is immediately possible and easily doable. And, in this case the government should ensure what strategy it is going embrace for effective and efficient implementation of law, if no new legislation is introduced.

It’s been since ages that we have seen huge numbers of cases being pending due to lack of the size of judicial machinery in the country.

Why can’t the government think of expanding it to match the growing population of the country. May be, the government can strategically distribute the responsibilities –such as making the panchayati system (Sarpanch) more effective for specific kinds of cases such as civil suits.

Policing

The cops might be giving VIP security as main reason for their lack of effectiveness but the police also seem to have lost its way in terms of understanding its nature of work. We immediately need to coach them of their responsibility and job profile. They need to act more than a thug in a look out to fleece people and get bribes. For the cops, their most important job profile currently is to find if a chana wala (roasted gram seller), andawala (egg seller), or any other small roadside vendor if they are paying the monthly bribe on time or not. Even the parking people pay a fixed amount to these cops and a strategic identification sign is made to protect the vehicles parked at unauthorized location/roads. If the actual case comes they police will first try to scare and then ignore and most often will not lodge any FIR. They want to remain in the safe heaven and focus on the earning part. If some pressure comes in then they will nab/arrest – most often an easy pray and implicate them under fabricated charges. The same Delhi Police do not allow a single tempo-wala (autorickshaw drivers), and petty vendor to run business without paying bribe but at the same time big crimes such as bomb blast, rape, robbery are easily committed. We urgently need to train the cops and make them understand actual KRA or Job responsibilities.

Be Civilized Society

Be a civilized society and not merely civil society. The civil society very quickly draws a divide between them and the government and finger is raised against government which is quite valid and natural. But in democracy, how can we totally ignore the fact that government is formed by us. We make hue and cry and MPs, MLAs are criminals – but who voted for them. The society also needs to wake up and understand its responsibility; we should not wait to put off the fire till it reaches our house. Let me confront the bitter truth, we have crores of people shouting slogans after a crime is commited, what happens why the same society acts as mere darshak (spectator) when the crime is being committed and no one came to help the victims. People simply ignore. We need to be sensitive and nip the crime in its bud stage.

The society need to build an environment where women’s stature and respect is restored as mother, sister and not treated as commodity.

The women themselves should adopt a zero tolerance against any such advancement – never ignore. The society should also collectively take action against the wrong doers so the stigma of doing wrong pinches them every minute of their lives.

[Nabeel A. Khan, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Consulting Editor with IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at nabeelkhan786@gmail.com]
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