No witch hunt, please by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JUNE 26, 2007)

This is for the third time that we are returning to Mayawati government in this column, the first two times with appreciation, but this time with some apprehension.

We have been fully supportive of her reform measures, especially the drive against violent crime, politician-mafia nexus, "VIP culture", and the all -- pervasive environment of impunity.

Last week she announced that people who had been victimised under Mulayam Singh Yadav’s rule would get justice. Among those targeted by the new government are "goondas" (Ms. Mayawati’s favourite word for violent criminals) who had forcibly occupied other people’s private lands or public property and committed other assorted criminal acts.

Victims of such high-handedness have been asked to file FIR (first information report) with the local police station within a month of the announcement. Ms. Mayawti has said that the goondas may belong to any party and they could be the mightiest mafia don, or be the scion of a princely state, they would be allowed no protection from law.

People who have suffered highhanded behaviour can register their complaints at the offices of superintendent of police and senior superintendent of police at district headquarters. Special counters are being opened at district level for this purpose.

Deputy Inspectors General, Inspectors General and Director General of Police have been instructed to monitor progress of such cases. Police officers have been asked never to delay the recording of FIRs.

All these steps are fine, but the Samajwadi Party has alleged that the new government has unleashed a witch hunt against its members. This is a serious allegation and steps must be taken to ensure that the drive for justice does not look like political vendetta. It is quite obvious that there is no room for witch hunt in a democracy, and political vendetta has no place in a democratic culture.

All said and done, people like Raja Bhaiyya and about two dozen MLAs in the Assembly can’t be allowed to go scott free just because they belong to a princely family or are influential members of the political class.


Mohammed Ataur Rahman

 

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