CRIME, POLITICS AND THE POLICE

The police, with their links with politicians on the one hand and With criminals on the other, have become the protectors of vested Interests with no more commitment and passion for law and justice. People are more and more disillusioned with the extant political Institutions. The percentage of the electorate that takes the trouble of going to polling booths to cast votes is steadily decreasing from election to election.

In a blinkered system like ours, where power and wealth are the ultimate virtues and where power and wealth in themselves stimulate mutual growth, to the exclusion of all other dimensions of life it is no wonder that the people of this poor country succumb to the trappings of power and wealth at the cost of all virtues, values, pride, dignity and human decency.

In an increasingly competitive and complex world, where every day, more mouths are added to share limited resources, where the principle of the survival-of-the fittest operates to its logical end and where the basic needs of survival and decency can be assured only with power and wealth, people naturally go all out to ramp the ladder of power and wealth by whatever means and cost.

JUSTICE, A CASUALTY

In the process, justice and morality become casualties. Criminality too raises its ugly head as an instrument to achieve otherwise impossible objectives. This is how politics and crime knit together in the fabric of Indian public life.

The story of the police is somewhat different. As an important part of the nation’s administration, the police enjoy tremendous power over vast fields of human activities with responsibilities towards the life and death of the hoi polloi as well as dignitaries. In this sense, the police are the cutting edge of the State power and its ultimate bearer.

No power can be its own law without the police on its side as an executioner and loyal watch dog. This is why politicians in their activities feel the need for wooing the police to their side.

The police of independent India have become, by reason of their failing strength of character and talent, easy prey to the power baits of smart politicians.

Their greed, unsound social background, lack of commitment to good values and failure to comprehend police virtues in the right perspective, make them willing

partners in whatever politicians do, or intend to do. They refuse to look beyond their political masters and their dispensations of job favours.

So law, justice, righteousness, professional ethics, morality decency, human dignity, the common good of people, national interests and even conscience-otherwise common to any human being-have become invalid nonsense to them

The police, sans sound character and personal integrity, are no more than country dogs. This is what the Indian police have become in free India. The politicians,

inebriated with new power, smartly brought these weaklings to absolute submission and held them on a tight-leash to be their personal watch dogs and personal gendarmes-inrequital for favourable job placements, undue promotions and other largesse from time to time.

Nothing is valued higher than this largesse and its dispensers by the new police of India. It is how the police were involuted in the conspiracy against decent public life of India.

It was a hop and skip for the police from the ugly world of politics to the mysterious world of crime and the underworld. The police have become a weapon of politicians to bring about the subjugation of the crime world to use its resources for political ends.

FALL OF CHARACTER

Politicians, thus, made good use of the decreasing strength of character of the police in forging a nexus between the police and criminals in the furtherance of their own ends.

With a weak spine and no principles in the face of odds, the police are only too pleased to follow in the footsteps of their political masters.

In these changed circumstances, discipline and subordination, which form the basic connecting link of the police hierarchy, have lost all meaning, and are interpreted as blind subservience to those who have power to serve personal interests.

And politicians easily led the police to the despicable cul-de-sac of the nexus with criminals-the very people who are supposed to be controlled and brought to book for antisocial activities.

With politicians as the custodians of power en arriere to support, the police plunged lock, stock and barrel into the lucrative crime world; the resulting wealth and comforts were in no way less sweet than the hard earned money of law-abiding society.

This is how one nexus between the police and crime world was established.

Whom should we blame for this hapless position? Certainly not the politicians or their auxiliaries like criminals and police who are the unfortunate by-products of the grind. They are created by the situation arising from a system which misfits the people for whom it was devised.

The blame lies either

on the Indian people who are unresponsive to the Because of their unenlightened and venal

democratic system evolved for them.

conscience, which is so insensitive that virtues like honesty, service, patriotism, quality and excellence can make no dent in it at all; or it lies with the political system devised for them. It failed to take their psychological make-up into account, and ispo facto led to the problem of maladjustment in national life.

Otherwise, how can we explain criminals and goondas winning elections with impunity, even while rioting and murders were committed at their behest on the eve of elections itself? The fact is that the chance of winning an election often is pro rata to the aura of a tough image built around the candidate.

IMMATURE ELECTORATE

It is these people who win elections and rule this country. It is these people whom the Indian electorate prefers to vest with powers to safeguard their interests!

Obviously, the Indian electorate lacks the

far sightedness and vision to

understand the consequences of its irresponsible decision.

It is yet too immature to take decisions about the interests of the nation and see how national interests are closely linked to its personal interests. It is yet to broaden its perspective to include the life of the nation as an integral part of its own.

Long –term and rational decisions are alien to its nature. Immediate selfish interests and parochial outlook continue to be the driving force of all its actions and decisions- on the matters of national importance or personal concern.

In most parts of India, it is money, arrack, sari, threat, fear of landlords or the blazening propaganda of a candidate that influence its decision as to whom to vote for.

How can the future of this country be safe in the hands of such an electorate and its elected leaders?

How can an indifferent and irresponsible electorate provide honest and efficient leadership to the nation?

This weakness of the electorate has ultimately left Indian politics in the hearth of violence and manipulative extortions, with the instruments meant to protect them

mowing the field. Saner elements in politics, who found survival difficult, have left the field, giving way to elements which are more suited to the field.

It is how politics, from a class of dedicated and virtuous leaders, has become a pit of junk. The credibility, which is the pith of any political life, is the biggest casualty in Indian politics.

People are more and more disillusioned with the extant political institutions. The percentage of the electorate that takes the trouble of going to polling booths so cast votes is steadily decreasing from election to election.

It is an open secret that an election is an opening for a candidate to invest money to reap wealth, comfort and power for the next 5 years. And how he reaps the wealth, comfort and power is again not a mystery at all. It is corruption and misuse of public money.

If he is ambitious and intends to promote his career interests, there is no way out in the existing system but to resort to pulling strings and pursuing other more deadly methods. Often with the active collusion of the officious criminals and police.

The unhealthy nexus often leads to and facilitates other forms of crime. Cases of rioting, assault, kidnapping, rape and blackmail, involving the supporters or relatives of

politicians, criminals and police in futherance of a political cabal are other usual forms of crime that result from the vicious nexus.

Often, criminals and police are employed to create disturbance or inspire sensational crimes in furtherance of political goals. The losses of life and property involved in the wily schemes seldom touch the conscience of either the politicians, the criminals or the police who are responsible for these dastardly acts.

The political patronage and the nexus with police desensitise criminals to the process of law and justice. They are emboldened to commit more daring and ruthless crimes that endanger the life and property of the plebeians.

The police, in their links with politicians on the one hand and with criminals on the other, are in their new avatar-the protectors of vested interests with no more commitment and passion for law and justice.

They have become a discredited force, a willing instrument of power brokers in the ruthless and violent cabal of power-games with no heart for the common man and common cause.

This is the requital the Indian electorate gets for letting by its nonchalance and irresponsibility-the political system putrefy.

POLITICISATION OF CRIME.

What we see today is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more things hidden in the latter than are seen.

This is soon realised by the

opportunist Indian politicians who seize the first

available instance to enlist the support of criminals and underground operators for their nefarious designs.

This, in turn, is a god–sent opportunity for criminals to restore their

lost

credibility and social standing with the help of their association with the custodians of power, apart from the security and protection from the police that ensure from the association.

They promptly grab the opportunity to their advantage and show how useful they can be to politicians in their career-promotion designs and in the wreaking of personal vendettas.

The experience and professionalism of criminals come in handy to politicians to execute their nasty operations without attracting the stigma attached to them.

The vast army of criminals has become ready resource for them to use whenever need arises. This has given a sense of confidence and security to politicians, who are otherwise vulnerable in their highly uncertain, challenging and competitive environment.

Often, politicians have so much relied on criminals that the latter have become their most trusted lieutenants, even getting elected to legislature with their help and blessings.

There have been instances in India, where prominent politicians have refused to disown their notorious criminal friends in public even after reaching the vortex of their political career. This shows the sway held by criminals over politicians in the Indian situation.

It is a fact that no syndicate of organised crime in small and big cities anywhere in the world can survive even for a day without political patronage. Ergo, all syndicates of organised crime and their menace are the direct outcome of the nexus between politicians and criminals, with the police as bystanders.

No criminal can take lightly the need for political patronage in running his crime syndicate. Be they smuggling syndicates, gambling houses, narcotics dealers or plain hoodlums, the only way to survive is to have comfortable political protection at the right levels.

MUTUAL ADVANTAGE

The crime syndicate, in return, pay a good percentage of their criminal gain to the protectors. Thus, it is an arrangement to mutual advantage.

The crime world also provides hoodlums as volunteers to perform challenging tasks during the election campaigns of their political patrons, apart from liberally financing these campaigns.

How can a politician, after gaining power with the help of a criminal, ever let down the criminal? This symbiosis of politicians and criminals which has emerged from the extant Indian political system. until now. Is the root cause of all the complications discussed

The very fact that politicians are prepared to risk their reputation rather than distance themselves from the crime world, shows how highly the world of crime is regarded by the politicians in their scheme of things.

Politics and crime have become the 2 faces of the same coin in the present state of affairs and a saying goes that there cannot be politics without crime and no crime without politics.

In the present Indian situation, it is true that the lotus of politics can blossom only in the offal of crime.

In an atmosphere where placements and transfers are decided by the needs and wishes of self-seeking politicians, no police can efficiently function nor can they be free from the interference of the politicians.

It is not surprising that hungry politicians grab more and more powers that are legally and traditionally invested with the police department when the top brass lack strength of character and conviction.

The leads to a position wherein the police department becomes a chessboard on which politicians move their pieces to checkmate their adversaries and win the political game.

In other words, the police sans effective leadership is becoming more a handmaid of politicians by moving away from its sacred role as the guardian of law and justice and the protector of the common man.

The credit of bringing the police from their height of power to the present level of absolute submission should go to the superior strength of personality of wily politicians who have bent the police on their own terms with the selective use of stick and carrot.

The police is not the real police and what is does is not policing in the proud sense of the term.

CHANGED ROLE

With the increasing involvement

of the police with crass politicians, the

conception of the police about their own role has undergone a large-scale change. No more do the police look at crime control and maintenance of order as their first duty.

With this, the concern for crime control has received a setback and crime control and investigation have receded to the last priority-except when politicians are interested in them for a specific purpose.

Only crimes that disturb politicians foment police to galvanic and meaningful action. Other crimes receive no priority.

The very definition of the gravity of crime is adapted to suit the new conception. Those crimes which are tolerated by politicians are no more crimes.

The self-image of the police as “a fearless arbiter of crime” is changed to a solicitous servant in attendance at the pleasure of a politician-master.

This blunting of the crime card of the police has made it less awe-inspiring and less deserving of respect from the criminals.

The police have more and more realised that criminals, particularly those from organised syndicates, are personal friends of their political masters and they are no match for the criminals in terms of wealth, influence and social standing. The men of the police see those criminals on equal footing with their political masters and learn to treat them with awe.

They find it absurd to act with authority against the high-profile criminals who are too high for the small stature of the police.

It is unfortunate that the police of today have never realised their infinite stature as law-enforcing agents vis-à-vis all others including criminals and politicians whom they are empowered to search, arrest and take to court if they deviate from rightful path.

Sadly, the trifling wealth and the concomitant “ big-man” image of others appear to the present police as more appealing than their own awful police authority.

On ultimate analysis, crime is a universal phenomenon. All living beings are criminals in varying degrees. Criminal thought is a part of the natural function of a healthy mind as is the moral restraint that prevents the criminal thought from being acted upon.

External restraints brought about by the fear of law, custom and adverse reaction, reinforce the inner restraint to prevent the committing of crime.

However, as the force of external restraints weakens for diverse reasons, and the proporation of gain to be made in committing a crime outweighs the risks involved in the balance sheet of the operation, the lure of crime increases and the deed is accomplished.

SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

It is the social situation which controls the external restraints to make committing a crime an asset or a liability. It thereby decides the proliferation or suppression of crime, human nature being what it is always.

Criminals are criminals because society gives them easy openings to thus meet their needs. Politicians love to befriend criminals rather than bring them to book because the society they live in makes their lives more comfortable with criminals as friends rather than as adversaries. Policemen find the crime world sweeter because it is how things stand for them.

The remedy for the proliferation and endearment of crime lies in changing the social dynamics to make crime a liability to criminals and criminals a liability to

politicians and the police. In the existing nexus of politics, crime and police, crime is an asset to criminals and criminals are an asset to politicians and police.

Criminals should not be construed as a separate block of citizenry. They are a cross-selection of people from all fields of life who have moved beyond a commonly accepted degree in their criminal tendencies.

Criminality may be prolific in certain civilised fields like commerce and industry in the form of tax evasion, violation of foreign exchange regulations, hoarding etc.

Such crimes are generally not taken seriously in spite of the public awareness of the crimes and the social standing of the criminals remains unaffected. Government servants too come under this category of criminals because of rampant corruption in public life.

It is a fact that Indian public life is a vast field of criminal activities and politicians and police, though the custodians and protectors of Indian public life, from part of the crime world. However, knowledge of the involvement of politicians and police in this nasty world stirs the public conscience for the reason that they are

supposed to be the people on whom the public relies to save them.

CRIME AND NATIONAL ECONOMY

A word about the effect of the nasty nexus between politics, crime and police on the national economy.

Unity gives strength. It is true about this nasty nexus also.

The only telos of the nexus is gain by synergy, which brings confidence and courage to the troika in its nefarious activities, thereby inducing it to more daring and innovative criminal activities.

This results in proliferation of crime is illegal gain and the incidence of crime is directly related to increase in black money in the national economy, the proliferation of crime invariably results in inflation and the weakening of the national economy.

More dangerously, it results in polarisation of the society into criminal rich and honest poor, and destroys the country’s moral fabric.

The increasing incidence of easy money, material comforts and political power of the criminal rich ultimately leads to internal strife and popular terrorism.

The indulgence of the rich and powerful in crime popularises criminal activities by bringing an aura of status to them and negating all inhibitions in the popular mind.

Society easily accepts the example of the wealthy and powerful for making an easy buck to lead comfortable lives in the world where life is becoming increasingly difficult because of the spurt in black money, caused by proliferation of crime.

While decent life becomes impossible by honest methods, the need of survival forces honest citizens to accept crime as a way of life as the last resort. This would be where politicians, criminals and police lead the country.

Easy money and easy wealth have a tendency to inflate. Criminals tend to spend lavishly. This ends up in a spurt in prices of land, buildings and essential commodities, while honest men have to toil hard for an extra quarter.

Crime begets money, and money begets more money, and more money gets power, comfort and everything. In the crush, the honest man is lost forever. The ocean of criminal wealth around him, which is beyond even his wildest dreams, frustrates him and ravages his sense of morality and righteousness.

It turns him violently against all human values and decency, leading him to a world of crime and violence. It is what we have seen in Punjab, Kashmir, Assam, in faraway Sri Lanka or even in Naxalism, where it is disguised as political ideology.

It is an irony that politicians and the police, who create the demons, fall to the bullets of the grievously hurt, self-righteous, once innocent people. It is said that even the dacoits in Chambal are symptomatic of this social and economic malady.

It is true that crime cannot be eliminated from any society as the tendency to commit crime is ingrained in human nature. However, crime can be suppressed by appropriate restraints. What restraints and how they are to be applied are ironically decided by politicians and the police.

If they come out of their indulgent interests to commit themselves to their professional objectives, they can certainly save India from the present predicament.

Not that every politician and very policeman can come out to achieve this noble task, but there certainly are noble elements yet surviving as exceptions among them, who should take up cudgels in favour of the Indian polity and sacrifice their lives and careers, if necessary, to make the renaissance of Indian police and Indian public life possible.

The question yet to be posed is: Will the inveterate vested interests let these sacrifices bear fruit? Let us hope for the best.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful