Today, December 30, the Right Honourable Shibu Soren, will be sworn in as chief minister of Jharkhand once again. In my last post on the issue, I had pointed out how corrupt and criminal politicians keep getting voted to power by voters, even after information is now available about their antecedents. The Association for Democratic Reforms has done an analysis of the antecedents of MLAs in the new Jharkhand assembly. The list is telling and tragic.
Twenty-six of the 79 MLAs in the Assembly (73 per cent) have criminal cases of a serious nature pending against them. The serious charges are murder (four), attempt to murder (14), theft (14) and kidnapping.
This is information collected from the affidavits all election candidates are supposed to provide. That means this information was in the public domain from the minute these candidates filed their nomination papers.
And yet they got elected. This is the value we attach to our votes.
Going on to the Ruchika Girhotra case. I am now beginning to seriously think that far too many people are cynically capitalising on this case.
Apparently a Chandigarh NGO, World Human Rights Protection Council, has decided to file a public interest litigation seeking harsher punishment for S P S Rathore and on the issue of the harassment of Ashu, Ruchika's brother.
And M S Bitta, head of the All India Anti Terrorist Front, toodled off to honour the Parkashes for the strength shown by them in fighting the case. Bitta is a publicity monger of the worst kind. I remember with disgust seeing his antics at the funeral of news photographer, Pradeep Bhatia, who got killed in Kashmir while covering a gun battle between terrorists and security forces. He was roundly ticked off but his face had an absolutely shameless look. Where was he all these years when the Prakashes were fighting alone? I am disappointed that the Prakashes refused the honour till such time as the case reaches its logical end. At that time, will they accept dubious honours from even more dubious people like Bitta? Why didn't they just snub him there and then?
I can understand Ruchika's father now deciding to come out into the open and knock the doors of higher courts for justice. After all, he no longer has to live in fear of S P S Rathore. But surely all these other people didn't have the same fear. And if they had all come forward to help the Girhotras when they were being harassed, could Rathore have gone to the extent he did? It is specious to argue that they didn't know of the case. Lakhanpal is an advocate in Chandigarh. How could he have not known of the case? Bitta is a politician. I find it hard to believe that he was absolutely clueless in all these years. One newspaper had written about the case and Rathore's harassment of Ashu Girhotra when he was made DGP. So why were they silent then?
Some of the issues that are being raised is absolutely pointless now. Like the inquiry against Sacred Heart Convent which expelled Ruchika on grounds of late payment of fees. That surely must have pushed the child over the brink. Someone should have come forward to help the Girhotras and Parkashes and fought the school then. Someone should have held the school authorities to account then. Nineteen years later, does it matter? Can anything be done to rectify it?
Right now, there are only two persons who should be proceeded against. Rathore and the then Superintendent of Police, Ambala, K P Singh, who, according to the Indian Express, registered all those false cases against Ashu. He definitely should not be allowed to go scot free.
People like him and Rathore must learn that the long arm of the law is actually long.
At the same time, let the publicity mongers be kept away.