October 03, 2008

INDIA: Reform Local Law Enforcement


This one is for not just those Catholic Bishops and U.R. Ananthamurthy but also Mr. Jaswant Singh and Ms Vasundhara Raje and every other Indian who loses sleep over every local incident of violence or mishap, jumps to the most attractive conspiracy theory if there was one, demands CBI probes and Judicial enquiries at the drop of a hat, express moral indignation when a Arushi murder case is reduced to a media circus but then conveniently forget that at the root of all this is the rot that afflicts Local Law Enforcement across the nation.

This is also to remind them that those who abett and participate in Mob Violence are no outlaws operating outside the bounds of society. These are almost always individuals with a stake in the system who are otherwise law abiding but feel encouraged to break the rule of law by seeking refuge in the anonymity of the Mob.

Offstumped had on multiple occassions called for Local Law Enforcement to be freed of the current system of bureaucratic hierarchies controlled by centralized Ministries. On every such occasion Offstumped had demanded that Local Law Enforcement be made directly accountable to the people through direct democracy with Officers who have a direct stake in the Community. Offstumped had also demanded on every such occasion that current system of Political Control of Law Enforcement be brought to an end so the first responders have a direct obligation to the community they serve and not to a bureaucrat or Minister sitting in the State Capital.

Below is a compilation of past posts on this subject.

Offstumped on the Burra Bazar Blaze in Kolkota back in January 2008 on how the alarm bells are ringing on Local Governance.

Offstumped on the Noida Nithari Killings on how Social Justice had subverted Criminal Justice back in January of 2007.

Offstumped asking Mumbaikars to make Local Law Enforcement an issue in the BMC Polls, also in January of 2007.

Also demanding autonomy for Bangalore with a specific demand to make local law enforcement directly accountable to the residents of Bangalore.

Then this comprehensive piece in May of 2008 on the rot in local law enforcement.

The history of India in the last century and this decade is littered with a million mutinies where local law enforcement just failed the citizens in its failure to be uncompromising and unrelenting in upholding the rule of law. Offstumped had highlighted this in its analysis of the Srikrishna Report on Mumbai 1993 riots.

In the face of this fundamental flaw with the way we run local law enforcement it is galling that Catholic Bishops to Communal Socialists like U.R. Ananathamurthy should hijack the public debate on the recent violence in Karnataka to a discussion on fascism and root causes.

Offstumped would like to ask these Communal Socialists where they were on every previous occasion when Karnataka or any other state witnessed mob violence on issues as benign as a wedding procession to issues as asinine as a Movie Actor’s Death.

Offstumped Bottomline: From communal riots to the attacks on Taslima Nasreen, from the Cauvery riots to Raj Kumar’s Death, India is no stranger to Mob Violence. To selectively view the fundamental problem with Mob Violence through a Communal Prism does the victims of Mob Violence little justice. Drawing dubious parallels with Terrorism and obfuscating the issue with talk of Fascism only hijacks the debate away from the rot in Local Law Enforcement. It may help armchair analysts assuage their guilt. But it provides little or no insurance to the common man from the next mob

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