The big news following the BJP’s victory in UP is the arrest of absconding minister Gayatri Prajapati who has been accused of rape. The custody followed a mini ‘chor-police’ charade by the cops who interrogated his sons and a nephew to know about his whereabouts. Homework done, the cops proudly smoked Prajapati out of his hideout. Prior to the election results, police were not able to trace Prajapati for many weeks.
Like Charles Sobhraj or Osama Bin Laden, the slippery Prajapati seemed to have disappeared into thin air. It is another matter that until CM Akhilesh Yadav was in power, the cops would not have found Prajapati even if he watched TV news inside his own house. It is fortuitous that Prajapati’s influence and area of operation is limited to UP and Akhilesh, or else, by now he could have been hobnobbing with Vijay Mallya in the UK.
The authorities would have belatedly flashed dozens of worthless non-bailable warrants executable only in India. In the past, relatives of an accused were beaten to pulp by the police to extract information. In the new age connected world, such methods have become passé.
The relatives of any criminal on the run cooperate fully, if only to avoid their backsides being sprayed with chilli powder. Unless, of course, you happen to be a bahubali like Prajapati, empowered with a political hotline to the CM — you can then make the thana your home, the SHO your factotum and never be arrested. Good cops exist. I am currently reading Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand, a riveting account of the valour and sacrifices made by the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force to finally nail the feared bandit. I also happened to belatedly watch the movie Pink after reading reports that the movie was recently screened for our highly regarded President Pranab Mukherjee.
Reel vs Real Life
It is during the court proceedings that the film makes its most potent points about the right of a woman to say, “No” to a man. In the real world, there is the high likelihood that the hearing would have never happened. For every instance of Jessica Lal or Asaram Bapu that are taken up due to scrutiny by the media or the higher courts, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of heinous crimes that never traverse beyond the police station.
“With you for you always,” sounds very good, unless one is faced with the money and power equations in the coarse fine print, “Either you bend or make me bend over.” And, if the case does get registered, it can mark the beginning of another set of bigger problems as the three harassed girls in Pink realised.
For one, there is no guarantee that the judicial process will end in a hurry. We still do not know whether Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan killed the black buck. In the meantime, Saif has married the second time, and become a father again. I can bet my brand new and precious fitness watch that Saif will be a grandfather and Salman’s films will continue to do well for unfathomable reasons, by the time it is definitely known to the world whether they shot the black buck.
Need For Judicial and Administrative Reform
My watch is totally safe. The dead black buck could easily have been a poor person whose family waited unendingly for justice. It happens all the time. India is in desperate need for judicial and administrative reforms. The system needs to be clinical, impartial and efficient instead of pandering to the political currents of the day. Acche Din can happen only when a Muslim, Yadav, Jat, non-Yadav OBC, Dalit, Brahmin or Christian is guaranteed his or her fundamental rights by the authorities deputed to protect, irrespective of the political party in power.
Sadly, we are still long away from such a paradigm to emerge. In the meantime, folks like Prajapati will hope the political headwinds change following which the cops will again not be able to find him, though he will be right there in Lucknow, roaming freely, along with his cronies in crime.
(Siddharth Srivastava is a Gurgaon-based journalist and author of two novels ‘Blogging the 40s’ and ‘An Offbeat Story’. He can be reached @SiddharthWriter. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)