ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Law Enforcement Talking and Doing

L K Advani see in him a latter-day Sardar Patel, Without getting into any comparative study of the two, it has to be said that on occasion he also sounds a lot like Jawaharlal Nehru. Not in all respects of course. Advani himself would readily admit to not even wishing to compete with Nehru in his cosmopolitan elegance or in his version of secularism. Yet when he promises to amend the law of the land to punish rappists with the death penalty, there is an uncanny echo of Nehruvian rhetoric. Soon after he became prime minister of the country, Nehru went on to declare in public speeches that black marketeers should be hanged from the nearest lampposts. He was all-in-all in the country then, the numero uno of India, a darling of the masses and charmer of the elite opinion- makers and the educated classes. Yet no blackmarketeer was ever discovered by him or later by his successors in all the past 50 years, let alone anyone being hanged from a lamp-post. When he visited Bombay in the early days of his stewardship (it was called Bombay then) and saw the ill-famous slums of Dharavi, he declared that such 'busties' ought to be burned down. Since then. Bombay has changed its name to Mumbai, the slums of Dharavi have grown far worse and have spilled over the railway lines. Similar 'bushes1 have multiplied, There are a dozen others in Mumbai alone and hundreds in other parts of the country which can compete with Dharavi in squalour and in degradation of human existence- Echoing moral indignation which became Nehru so well and which also does Advani credit no end, the latter wants death penalty for rapists in the country; presumably that is his response to the rape of nuns in Madhya Pradesh. No one doubts the- intensity of feeling and the sincerity of purpose behind Advani's outburst, just as no one doubled the existence of these estimable qualities in Nehru in the old days. Yet one may, with some trepidation, enter a caveat or two on the subject Let us forget for the moment the conventional judicial dictum of titling the punishment to the crime. If a rapist deserves death, how do you deal with a rapist who also kills his victims? Or with a paedophile? How about the adulterators who added poison to mustard oil only recently and caused many deaths? Or persons who by consciously using substandard cement and other material hastened the collapse of buildings and buried to death many innocent people? Any number of such examples can be given.

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