When the police who are supposed to protect the people from thugs become protectors of the thugs, the people can only console themselves with the belief that they are indeed living in the mythical kaliyug.
Paul M George, a business tycoon, was killed last month in Kerala. The Kerala police arrested certain people quite promptly. However, Kari Satish who is alleged by the police to be the murderer is turning out to be a mercenary scapegoat: one who accepted the crime for a monetary reward. Satish’s mother claimed that she saw the police placing a knife (made in the shape of the letter S, first letter of the name of the accused) under Satish’s bed and then recovering it as the evidence. Later on a blacksmith came forward with the admission that the police had ordered him to make that knife after the murder had taken place. The blacksmith is now in hiding and has applied for anticipatory bail. He needs legal protection from the police for speaking the truth!
In the meanwhile, two notorious criminals, Omprakash and Rajesh, who were supposed to have been travelling with the victim George in his car on the fateful day were absconding. The police finally caught up with them when the media pressure became too hot to bear. However, the police did not permit the media persons anywhere near these two thugs. It is alleged by the media that the two criminals are being given VIP treatment in custody.
Omprakash is a notorious criminal with 17 cases pending including 2 murder charges. There were already 5 warrants against him. Rajesh has 25 cases against him including murder charges and four arrest warrants. Both of them lived in Kerala, probably enjoying the hospitality of top police officials, until the murder of Paul George took place. Since George’s family is influential and wealthy enough to pursue the case against political clouts, the two criminals have been arrested. But will they be proved guilty. Malayalam newspapers say that the police are trying their best to make these two criminals the witnesses in George’s murder.
The English media in India are now full of reports about the Gujarat police murdering 4 innocent persons in a fake encounter. The murder was carried out by a police officer who specialises in (fake?) encounter killings so that he could obtain a promotion. It was alleged that the 4 victims were conspiring to kill Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat and the person behind the pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.
It appears that the common man who has no ‘connections’ with the people in power have very little chance of survival, let alone justice. The tragic fallout of this situation is the gradual erosion of people’s faith in the social systems represented by the police and the politicians. That will lead to a social vacuum.
John Ralston Saul has argued in his book, The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World, that such a vacuum “encourages the rise of false populism, a taste for war, divisions between civilizations, racism and the misuse of gods.” The alarming rise of mafia gangs in the towns of Kerala vindicates Saul’s theory. Equally alarming is the rise of religious cults, godmen and godwomen too.
Shall we console ourselves with the myth of kaliyug? I’d rather believe with Antonio Gramsci that “The old is dying, the new struggles to be born, and in the interregnum there are many morbid symptoms.” Gramsci, however, wrote that in 1930. It seems to be a very long interregnum!