Law should take its own course
While the entire country was preparing to celebrate the festival of Light, Diwali, one person in posh Kadamkuan locality of Patna, Kundan Pratap Singh, was preparing to light the funeral pyre of his son. He was the unfortunate father of Rahul Raj, one who took hostage a BEST bus and was subsequently killed by police firing. But the insult to the injury for the father was that Rahul Raj was a Bihari first and a son or a brother later.
Anybody killed by police action or mob violence in this country is first a Bihari, a Marathi, a Kashmiri, a Keralite or a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian than being a son, a brother or a husband. Perhaps it is the destiny of the family members of all the victims of such actions that the deceased is identified with his regional, religious or political allegiance than the inherited identity.
As the fire of the hate politics of Raj Thackeray was yet to douse the death of Rahul Raj in police encounter added fuel to the fire. Within hours of the death of Rahul Raj as the media played out the dramatic footage frequently and raised questions about this particular encounter by Mumbai Police, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also raised eyebrows. This incident even saw an unprecedented political move of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, railway minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP chief and Union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ramvilas Paswan addressing media from the same podium demanding a judicial probe into the shootout.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil justified the police action by calling for "Bullet for bullet" response to maintain the law and order of the fastest city. The Home Ministry asked for a detailed report about the entire encounter episode and also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. What followed was a high level enquiry by Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and also an internal CID probe. This made the Home Minister R R Patil softening his voice and asking not to politicize the matter and allow the law to take its own course.
Every time there is a law and order situation or crime involving the person of their concern the people who must answer come out with the politically correct sound byte -"Law should take its own course." In world's largest democracy law always takes own course for the common man but not for the accused enjoying political patronage. The course of action of the law enforcing agencies could be decided by other factors but not by law in two cases. Firstly the accused must be a politician or the family member or a relative of a politician. Secondly the accused should belong to such a section of the society, be it religion or caste or regional identity, which constitute the vote bank of the ruling party or its alliances and even the opposition.
Just consider for a while had Rahul Raj committed the acts of Raj Thackeray what could have been the consequences. For sure he would have been put behind bars within no time booked for sedition or treason. But in case of Raj Thackeray law took its own course with arrest and later fifty four cases at various police stations across Mumbai simultaneously followed by street violence, arson, road blockade and stone pelting. Perhaps life of the busiest city would have not interrupted had the law taken own course at right time. Even in that sense the north Indian railway board examination candidates would be relaxing back home anticipating a positive result and many would have not faced the ugly experience of being stranded at railway stations in Diwali season. Pawan Kumar would be enjoying Diwali with his family in Bara-Khurd village in Nalanda district and Rahul Raj would be appearing for interviews in Mumbai. But unfortunately law did not take its own course on time for Raj Thackeray.
Let us hope this time law takes its own course on time to resolve the mystery the Rahul Raj encounter and no more Rahul's are instigated to resort to the fire arms.
More about Sahasranshu Mahapatra
Associate Editor, Print Research