An Opportunity for Justice

As an Indian, I should normally be pround of my country's media. When the powers-that-be had tried to run away with the agenda during the Dark Ages of the Emergency (1975-77), the media proved itself as the citizen's watchdog. Today however, I am ashamed of it.

I open the newspapers to read three pages of reporting and whatnot about a middlingly popular filmstar convicted for possessing a gun. Three entire pages of analysis, sentiment, people's comments. And then, when the overdose has finished, a few inches on the conviction of a central minister.

Sanjay Dutt was guilty of having possessed an illegal gun, which might get him five years in jail. Shibu Soren, now resigned as Minister for Coal, was convicted for the murder of his secretary who was blackmailing him over a bribery scandal. He may hang for it. And yet the latter, with his unforgivable crime gets just a passing mention in the papers, which are gushing over a relatively harmless error of a filmstar.

Why is there no sense of outrage in the papers, no sense of national interest? Why no calls for the minister's head to roll (literally)? Why are there no calls for other such 'tainted' men to be brought to justice? Has our country and its politics become so cynical that a person can actually get away with murder?

In the recent Priyadarshini Mattoo case, the country rejoiced when her murderer was sentenced to death. It campaigned for justice to Jessica Lall. So why is it not celebrating the conviction of this cruel but influential man?

We are letting go of an opportunity that has been given to us by the blind Goddess of Justice. And that opportunity is that we can tell the political elite that it is also subject to the same laws of the land. Today,the court has given us an impetus to go after all the goons and criminals thta have become MPs and MLAs. We must now begin a movement to bring them to justice. Let us not lose this impetus in the tears for Munnabhai.


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