Writing a blog on Narendra Modi is always risky. You tend to get branded one way or the other, there just does not seem to be any middle ground. Its either you love modi (and get called as a fan boy) or hate modi (and get called with many names).
But like it or not, I believe there has been no other politician who instils both fear and hope and neither there is a politician about whom so many have written so much
Riots is defined in Wikipedia as under
“A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and exhibit herd behaviour, and usually generated by civil unrest.”
Modi was (in his view), was the person at the right place at the right time and he has like it or capitalized it big time. India has seen hundreds of riots, some small, some bigger than 2002. What changed in 2002 was the fact that it was the first that a Electronic Media coming of age was able to document and report live. While most other riots were limited in space and causalities, the Gujarat riots was wide spread and the casualty figure was higher than most.
While most of the focus has been on one man (Modi), what has been missed is more than what is being debated. Its not normal for instance that people suddenly start pelting neighbours with stones or burn them to death. And there are quite a few things that are the characteristics of only India. We just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the riots when they happen. Most cities for example have policemen with just a lathi to do the duty. While there are reserve police which are called when things start to get out of hand, its usually late in the day. Adding to that is the fact that since the Police department comes under the Home Ministry, its hands are effectively tied.
While Riots generally start off with a simple issue, the underlying reason is usually more than that. Take for instance the Riots in England in 2011. What started off as a simple stray case of police having had to shoot a suspect turned into a full fledged war between the police and protestors over many cities. The reasons ascribed range from massive unemployment among blacks (who are a minority community in UK) to social deprivation to family breakdowns.
But what differentiates Riots in India with elsewhere is not just the speed with which it’s controlled (and with limited human causalities) but also how the law is implemented. While the Riots took place in early August in England, by September much of the sentencing of those convicted was over. Compared to that, we take decades to even start writing a charge-sheet.
For instance Laloo Prasad Yadav has recently been charge-sheeted over a scam that took place in 1996.
“Justice delayed is justice denied” is a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.
By delaying justice, it does 2 things. The person who is on the wrong side of the law is effectively being told that no matter what, its unlikely that he will ever be prosecuted and 2 since the guy who has been wronged would feel that it would have been better for him to take the law in his own hands and meet out the justice.
What we also lack is something like the United States Federal Witness Protection Program. Most high profile cases hence end up having to acquit the alleged victims due to witness turning hostile. Without a dedicated program such as the one run in
US, its faulty to even assume that convictions where the witness testimony is crucial will ever happen since risk of intimidation and other methods of manipulation remain high.
The big question is, Will the government contemplate setting things right or should we wait for another pressure point to activate yet another tragedy?