Feel free to plunder

If there exists something called afterlife, then Rajkumar Dhruv must be watching the developments unfolding in India with pain and horror. He would be wondering whether his crime was so grievous that he got capital punishment without trial.

This tribal youth from Suhela, about 100 km from Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, never returned home after the local police picked him up on a fateful night way back in 2004. The Suhela police had beaten him to death and buried him clandestinely.

His crime? Police suspected him that he had stolen diesel worth Rs 300 from a tractor. A public outburst ensued against the custodial death resulting in torching the police station. Tragically the incident could not find any space in any of mainstream English media and TV news channels, which rarely reach such remote places.

The youth in some celestial world must be lamenting at his foolishness for being a petty thief. Had he plundered the national resources, he would have been the most respected citizen of the country receiving salutes from the same policemen who had killed him without trial. He might have enjoyed all luxuries, fought elections and later became a lawmaker. Even the judiciary would have thought twice while trying him.

In this election season, when there is a growing outcry for probity in public life, clean candidates, measures to check corruption and criminalisation of politics, the so-called leading political parties of the country continue to have their way. Statistics provided by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) show that till March 13, the BJP and the Congress had announced 204 candidates and 265 candidates. Of them, 40 BJP candidates and 44 Congress candidates had criminal cases against them. Further study by the ADR reveals that the 20 BJP candidates and 16 Congress candidates carried serious criminal charges.

Irrespective of public outrage, the major political parties have again fielded candidates facing charges of rape, murder, attempt to murder, cheating and forgery. If the BJP has fielded Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa, who was jailed on corruption charges, the Congress too did not think twice while giving ticket to Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashok Chavan of Adarsh fame.
The message that has been conveyed by these parties to the public is very loud and clear- petty theft is unpardonable but plundering the nation is rewarding. 

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