Friday, 17 November 2006

Whose Security?

So little Anant Gupta is back with his family, after a three-day ordeal with kidnappers. All’s well that ends well and all that, but in the shock over the abduction and joy over the return, there’s something that’s getting overlooked.
Just a day before Anant was kidnapped, the government decided to provide Z category security to the grandchildren of the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Apparently there were reports of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (the Pakistan based militant group) planning to abduct the relatives of these VIPs and demand the release of some militants. The suspicion, however, refuses to go away that this is just a charade to extend security to Sonia’s grandchildren.
But even if that suspicion were not there, there’s still something disturbing. Sure, these people are important national leaders and, by that token, their relatives are in peril and deserve protection from the state. But what of Anant Gupta and countless others who are kidnapped across the country, especially in the badlands of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh? There’s a thriving kidnapping industry in the country that just can’t be controlled.
The children of each one of us is vulnerable. And taxpayers’ money is used to protect the children of a handful of VVIPs? It just doesn’t seem right.
People are supposed to pay taxes because the state provides certain services. Is it too much for tax payers to demand basic security and maintenance of law and order, which is the primary responsibility of the state? Why should that basic right be restricted to the children of just a few?
Forget the children of these three VVIPs, what about the crores that are spent on providing security to all kinds of people, many of them venal politicians under whose benign protection the kidnapping industry flourishes?
The inadequate police force across the country is stretched to its limits but never at the cost of security to all kinds of so-called VIPs. It is the ordinary people who have to pay the price.
This has to end.

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