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Ugly Nexus

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It is ridiculous to ask the police and the bureaucracy to be community and class blind in a time of crisis when in routine functioning they are selected and expected to function on exactly that basis. This is why when politicians ask officials to act impartially, particularly when in the opposition, it is little more than farcical. The leopard cannot change his spots; certainly not overnight!

The entire purpose behind having a separate entity such as the bureaucracy, particularly in the Indian context, is for it to be ideologically neutral in every way. Trained to discriminate between legitimate political directives and illegal ones, they are expected to serve the nation-state instead of the parties in power. The entire point of providing them safe-guards and privileges is to make them capable not only of standing up to the politicians, but also correcting them when they are going astray. How far the present bureaucratic set-up has gone from this position is evident in the present-day nexus between these two wings of governance and the way particular castes or communities are provided an above the law status by the party in power. An extreme form of this has always been seen in Bengal, be it the times of the Left, or the TMC. One reason for dread among the people of UP at the possibility of the SP returning is further deepening of this nexus.

To make things worse, the system has not evolved beyond the British Imperialistic way of dealing with communal riots. Apart from the fact that little investment is done in normal times to reduce caste and community differences, there is an active ‘divide and rule’ policy in operation. This is reflected even in basic law and order management. Instead of acting effectively against individuals actually responsible for violence, the emphasis is on a balancing act. So, cases are imposed, or withdrawn, on how many are from each community.

The result of each communal riot and the government response is increased ghettoisation instead of integration. A political party (and its supporters) should be able to distinguish between ideology and the imperatives of governance. Political analysts from the start have been citing this as the primary difference between the SP and BJP regimes. CM Yogi’s emphasis on law & order is today one of the selling points of the BJP.

It may be argued that having such extensive support of criminals and communal elements, the SP naturally has little interest in enforcing the rule of law. This ugly truth becomes all the more evident when the contradictions explode. The effort will always be underway by various political formations to provide ‘advantages’ to some, and to ‘weaken’ the others. Unfortunately, in all of this India and its people are the long-term losers.