Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, broke away from the Gandhi faction of Congress and started a dream “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”. The people rose to sacrifice themselves in fulfillment of that vision. He dreamt a dream which shook the very foundation of the British Empire. Today we have lost sight and focus of what we are trying to achieve. We have become agenda-focussed rather than vision-focussed. We do not have a collective vision anymore, neither the corporate nor that nation.
We need to be focused again with a vision, the height of the Kanchenjunga and depth of our oceans. Today power has become the rallying point, everyone is power hungry, talking individually of career, wealth and position. It is why we have become a power-centric nation with our nation and society getting pushed behind. The thinkers, artists and philosophers are being pushed to the fringe. It has become imperative for our country to be a political activist before he can any advisory panel.
Manmohan Singh, our former Finance Minister may have been an exception or at least quite rare. If it was true for the corporate world then we would have had no infosys or Wipro of Reliance. J.R.
D. Jata had a vision, so had G.D.
Birla and see what they achieved. Our country needs to veer away from popular politics and rhetorics to give the commonman a sense of direction. The growth of any nation depends on Vision and to achieve that we need discipline. The growth of any nation is linked with discipline but we lack it totally. Earlier we never talked of entitlements, today we have only one agenda for our workers, their rights.
We are lagging behind countries like Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore only because of lack of discipline. This, when we have a large pool of talent. To integrate our action and our vision there has to be a change of approach towards our tasks. There has to be responsibility, accountability and performance appraisal. The concept of a government servant being inducted and continuing in service till retirement, even when he is incompetent, corrupt and careless towards his job, has to end.
Laws need to be framed which are performance based. Our political leaders have brought in to change. The poor continue to remain poor, the illiterate are still being misled into putting their mark on ballots, electing the corrupt and self-seekers. Our nation has become morally bankrupt and who can expect the immoral to be visionaries. We have entered the 21stCentury and it is a tragedy that we have lost sight of our goals. Indeed, India today lacks Vision. The Asia Pacific forum on National Human Rights Institutions held a seminar on November 11, 2002. It related to the upholding of basic human rights in the face of continuous transgression.
This forum which was addressed by our Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a significant decision referring the issue of the primace of the rule of law in anti-terrorist laws to its advisory council of jurists. Terrorism is not the only issue at stake and it is accepted that these terrorists who kill innocents without reason just to create terror, need to be dealt differently from the common man. Unfortunately, where terrorists need to be subjected to some violations for extracting information, they in actually treated quite deferentially by the police. Most of the leading criminals and corrupt are treated equally because they are rolling in money and are able to give ample bribes to the protectors of law. On the other hand, ordinary citizens are mortally afraid to even lodge complaints at police stations due to fear of these brutes. The media is regularly publishing reports of third degree methods used by the police to force confessions out of innocents.
The media has correctly titled the police machinery as licensed killers. False encounter in which innocents are shot dead even without resistance are the rule of the day. What matter is the entry in their files showing cases as solved, to get earlier promotion. Human life and values have no meaning for them. The recent incident where an SHO (Station House Officer) of police broke open the doors of the house to arrest a young man and thrash him in front of the family and villagers, accusing him of dacoity and extortion, is well known. The hapless father, an eighty year old, who dared to protest his son’s innocence, was brutally belaboured until he fell dead in his own house.
All this in full view of all with none daring to intervene. The poor sons dared not even lodge a report against the police officer and it was only when the media published the report that the machinery woke up and took notice. Even then the officials gave excuses and tried to protect the guilty by saying that the news was totally false. This is not a lone incident and cases of third degree torture at police stations, resulting in death of persons are happening all the time.
The police who should be our protectors are actually the perpetrators of most of the crime committed all over the country. The view of the common man is that all sorts of nefarious activities tack place with the connivance of the police. The mafia and organised crime syndicates do survive only because of the huge sums of protection money given to the police.
Gambling, prostitution, extortion, illicit liquor, smuggling-nothing can do on without police protection and our movies have not hesitated in openly depicting the levels of corruption in department. If this is the state of corruption and their cooperation with the criminals how can we expect them to uphold human rights. Most of the entrants in the police come with the idea that they are entering a job to get some fast money. Legal, illegal is of no consequence. If this is the attitude then it is natural that they will implicate the innocents and give a clean chit to the criminals. However, it appears from the speech of our Prime Minister that he is not fully aware of the extent of degradation. That he has some idea of what it should be is clear as he says “Our national culture and ethos have always propagated human right in the broadest sense of the term”.
“In a civilized and law governed society, there cannot be any justification for excesses and injustice perpetrated by the very state machinery whose duty is to uphold justice. Without accountability, agencies of the state cannot misuse their authority and infringe on the rights of citizens, especially those who are poor and weak”. This must sound like honey dripping down the ears of the common man, quite an extraordinary viewpoint.
But instead of addressing seminars with such rhetorics, the need of the hour is to call a meeting of the home ministers and top police officers and make it clear that violation will not go unpunished. Our laws are unfortunately formulated in such a fashion that our statute looks are studded with provisions protecting the State from legal proceedings even in cases of the grossest negligence unless actual malice is proved. This is not only difficult but in most cases improbable as the onus is on the victim to prove this. The other problem is getting the sanction of the government for prosecuting any of its officials. The encounters and custodial deaths reflect the state of affairs. “The promotion of respect for human right and fundamental freedoms, mutual understanding, respect for cultural diversity”, are factors which should be ingrained in our law enforcement agencies. The force should be made more human, a quality they could have been taught after the British forces left our country.
The police force under the Britishers were drilled with the idea that all citizens should be treated with suspicion. That most of the population was engaged in subversive activities and that any questioning in the normal dignified manner, keeping in mind human rights, would result in subterfuge. This mentally of the officers filtered into the psychology of their subordinates too, until the constable of Indian ethnic origin was viewing his fellow countrymen as terrorists and criminals.
The normal behavior of the policy force under the British took a drastic dig for the worse after the group of freedom fighters like Azad, Khudiram Bose, Bhagat Singh and others took to arms in revenge for the regular animal like treatment and brutality, Indians were being subjected to in their own country. Even in jails, the torture of regular beatings and inhuman brutalities continued and over the years, the police force mastered the art. They had been converted into extreme psychopaths and sadists. This conversion appears to have become a part of the police force even after independence. India police officers and constabulary continue to treat citizens as ordinary criminals, flouting human rights. Rights are meant for themselves and not for the ordinary man. Here, ‘India is totally out of step with other democracies and indeed, with enlightened international opinions’.