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Crime and politics

Crime and politics

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: January 27, 2005

There seems to be an inextricable link between politics and crime. Both have become growth industries in recent years. Neither minimum qualifications nor any bar exists for entry into these highly lucrative professions. And it is not only in the badlands of Bihar and UP that criminals become people's representatives in the State and Central legislatures. Even in cosmopolitan Mumbai and Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, everyone is painfully aware of the thriving nexus between politicians and criminals. However repugnant these linkages might appear to ordinary people, the truth is that they are entirely helpless before it. Thus it is that a Taslimuddin in Bihar or an Arun Gawli in Mumbai becomes the chief instrument of instant justice delivery system. Due to the deep-rooted corruption and inefficiency of the institutions of the State, Taslimuddin and Gawli fulfill a void. This in turn provides criminal-netas wider acceptability. Did it, therefore, cause any surprise when gentleman Manmohan Singh deemed it fit to pack his government with some of the most notorious politicians from Bihar, including, of course, Tasleemuddin?

Nor could it have caused any shock when recently a scholarly national weekly duly documented the criminal antecedents of the Congress Chief Minister of Andrha Pradesh, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Despite the thoroughness of the expose, it failed to raise any eyebrows in the political circles. Even the non-Congress parties did not pay the researched article on the criminal career of Reddy and his family more than a cursory attention. For, they too had their own share of criminalpoliticians. The long-standing rivalry between Reddy and the TDP strongman and former minister Paritala Ravindra, in the Rayalaseema region is reported to have led to the broad daylight murder of the latter on Monday. Whether the motive behind the murder was political or criminal may never be known. For, in the violence-infested politics of the State a large number of politicians lead double lives, playing the neta by the day and the don after dusk. The State CM, according to the abovementioned weekly, is a prime example of the successful conflation of crime and politics. The TDP leader who was gunned down by unidentified youths on Monday was said to be behind several heinous murders in Ananatpur district of the State. The turf war between him and his Congress Party rivals took a decisive turn against him once power changed hands in Hyderabad after the Assembly elections. Despite a ring of security guards, his attackers managed to mow him down outside the TDP office in the town on Monday. The resulting wave of violence and rioting caused widespread damage to the State property. The protest memorandum given to the Governor, Sushil Kumar Shinde, by the TDP delegation led by former CM, Chandrababu Naidu, named Rajasekhara Reddy and his son as the main culprits behind the murder. Admittedly, the identity of real conspirators may never be known. Given their linkages, they might well go scot-free. But it is beyond doubt that another criminal-politician will take the place of the victim so that TDP is able to match the criminal-politicians of the rival Congress Party. Large parts of Andhra Pradesh are in the grip of the Naxalite violence. Others live in constant fear of criminal-politicians. No respite is in sight for ordinary people, especially when so-called gentlemen-politicians feel obliged to accord respectability to `tainted' politicians.

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