Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
HomeOpinionIndia’s VIP culture is on full display even in Modi’s ‘stringent’ lockdown

India’s VIP culture is on full display even in Modi’s ‘stringent’ lockdown

Reports of Covid lockdown breaches have emerged from across India. But the penalty, it seems, is much steeper for the poor even as the powerful go scot-free.

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Two migrants, both hundreds of kilometres away from their respective families: one in search of livelihood, other in pursuit of quality education for a better future. After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, both wanted to return home to the safety of their homes. And, there end all similarities.

One is a daughter of a BJP MLA in Bihar, who was studying in Kota, Rajasthan. She returned safely after her influential father got special permission from the authorities to travel to Kota and bring her back. The MLA, who breached the lockdown norms went unpunished. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, often applauded for his so-called good governance, is maintaining a sullen silence.

The other migrant was a child–a 12-year-old girl. The only earning member in her poor family. Her attempt to walk a 100-odd km to her home in Chhattisgarh ended in her death, 11 km short of her home.

One thing that this pandemic has shown is that the “mai-baap sarkaar” culture is persisting, in fact thriving, even in 21st century India.


Also read: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in a fix after Adityanath’s move to bring back students from Kota


Where is the rule of law?

There have been numerous incidents of the rich and influential blatantly violating the lockdown either directly or by forcing the corrupt government officials.

But, these stories are nowhere near the number of gut-wrenching reports of human misery coming in from the same regions, especially from states where the poorest of the poor live.

And this is the reason India, with its poor planning and inefficient state response to various challenges, particularly economic ones, should ask itself: where is the rule of law promised in our Constitution by the great men and women who wrote that wonderful book?


Also read: UP’s decision to evacuate students from Kota irks Bihar while MP, Chhattisgarh follow suit


Police brutality

Who, if anyone, will take on police officials whose actions resulted in the deaths of poor people after being brutally thrashed for breaking the lockdown? Examples of such police high-handedness abound.

Rule of law ordinarily means similar treatment, irrespective of religion, caste, age, gender, colour etc, for similar crimes or circumstances for all citizens.

The sub-divisional magistrate who issued the pass to the BJP MLA in Bihar or Maharashtra’s principal secretary (Home) Amitabh Gupta, who issued a letter to facilitate the illegal travel of HDFL promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar , will at most get away with a rap on the knuckles. But, hundreds of poor people will face legal action launched by a vengeful state to browbeat them into staying at their current locations.

So what if many of these people have run out of money and food and are finding it difficult to survive the lockdown away from their native places with no source of income?

If you have the means and know which doors to knock on, help, even if arbitrary, will certainly come your way.

As for the poor, they will be left to fend for themselves. Their cases, most of them filed on specious grounds, will not allow them to attempt a return to normal life even after the crisis is over.

Hundreds of cases, if not more, registered by police in several states under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with disobedience of lawful orders issued by a public servant, will only add to the misery of the citizens.

That several of those against whom the cases have been filed, including for posting objectionable material, are critics of the party in power only adds to the gravity of the problem.


Also read: ‘I miss him so much’: The collateral damage of farmer suicides in Vidarbha


Hope in judiciary

There is hope, very bleak though, considering the pro-government tilt that has come to define the actions of some of our higher judiciary members in recent times that a Constitutional court will ask the important question: Under what law did the police assume the power to book people and arrest them?

Hopefully, some court will come down on the police for what is clearly an overreach in arresting people for breaking the lockdown.

Another important concern is the possibility of these accused, many of whom have been arrested, contacting the virus in jail.

The Supreme Court, in a suo motu proceeding, ordered release of undertrials to reduce overcrowding in jails in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. But, while many of these prisoners haven’t been released since district courts are practically shut, the police are busy picking up people for offences as stupid as stepping out of home for morning walks.

These cases will survive the lockdown, adding to the already long and unwieldy load of cases pending in different courts.

Where is the sanctity of the lockdown?

It is not just the influential people who are using their clout to breach the stringent guidelines governing the lockdown. There have been some instances where even state governments have themselves been in breach of the rules.

While poor migrants travelling hundreds of kilometres to return home are lathicharged or even booked, nobody questions when Uttar Pradesh government decides to send 250 buses to Kota to bring back students from the state stranded there.

Doesn’t this prove that even the governments know that the lockdown and its guidelines are not etched in stone?

So why are common citizens being penalised for doing something that several state governments have themselves done?

The scales of justice are clearly being shifted towards the state here. And, that is never a good idea, especially in a democratic setup like ours.

The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. What is happening? Modi wants to ensure a lockdown here as a way to cure the COVID-19 disease so there is no requirement to fight regarding this, C’mon, let’s support that poor “chaiwallah” fellow for his attitude

  2. You want to.complain but do it without biased. You may hate the guy or the government . Well let me tell you it is there everywhere in every damn party. There will be a lots of ups and downs. You are not an indian paper. A suck up ass to.the UK. None of us like this lockdown. But somewhere something has to be done. Wasting your time criticizing then use it for contributing to whomever you want to help if you are saying about migrant workers. We Indians have been big time spoilt brats freedom without any discipline. Today when someone or something is done you cannot digest it. Appreciate the citizens who are trying to help others in every way possible . You guys rarely write a good article.

  3. Absolutely the Article is applied in my case also. I understand the pandemic situation and on April 1st When I went outside to buy groceries on my bike without any reason Police official thrive me to the police and without any warning booked case on me. I still don’t understand why this always happens to a Comman Middle Class people like me who is still awaiting of getting salary since last 4-5 months was made to pay 3000/- as Initial lawyer fee for getting a payroll bail. It is very brutally murdered offence on a Comman Man who is in difficult situation to manage his family. No announcement, No Warnings, No reply to our sincere request and apologies were accepted. Direct court case was booked, Iam still in dilemma how directly or indirectly this section were imposed on us. Don’t know what is going to happen but still we have to thrive for something to pay for this kind of non objectionable offences.

  4. This blog was aimed to condemn our ameeri gareebi culture. Most of the comments took obvious political turn and spoke about those in govt and opposition. The 11 yrs tired small body could not take more but ….
    Kota students of paisawallas political leaders came back on the consent of host and guest state but poor children are not dear, they are unwanted mass.

  5. Thank you primeminister modiji for being there all the time for our nation and telentkessly working..

  6. How can police constables or even Inspectors be given the power to physically assault unarmed citizens, why was Devagowda ex PM NOT PENALISED SIMILARLY for hosting his grandson’s marriage. Under which law is the police goon allowed such highhandedness and give descriminatory treatment. Is India the Wild West of US?

  7. This is our great India where only v vip & vip has the power to do anything, not in this situation but all situations they have some quota of reservation to do anything.

  8. The difference between the haves and the have nots , the rich are getting richer and more privileged and the poor are getting poorer with no privilege , ofcourse the ruling Govt., are too in line of the haves and privileges then come their multi millionaire businessmen and so down the heirarchy of importance , nobody is going to remember or care if thousands of poor die , but if one rich farts the a whole team is working to fix it , Yeh hai India meri Jaan !

  9. The covid 19 is not distinguishing between rich and poor. However the same is not true about human race. Where there had been different treatment given to rich and poor. The same is true during this period of lockdown. The poor people are the hardest hit and in some instances at the cost of their life. The people who are in power should at least be sympathetic to this people and try to understand there suffering. Otherwise just shouting that we are one is useless.

  10. How stupid is the article? The Print is known for writing such article which has only objective to target BJP and. Narendra Modi. Stupid writers like Maneesh Chhibbers are the paid writers like many others harboured by the paper. Their main objective is to create a kind of uprising in India against the legaly elected Government And every one knows who are the people interested in doing it. But intention of these anti national and enemy of India will not 😠 succeed. People os India are clever enough to identify such designs of enemies of India.

  11. This is a culture nourished by our past rulers since seven decades. Don’t expect it to correct within six years it will continue till the smell is there for some more time. Put the nation first.

  12. This is what we achieved after Independence in 1947. Modhi or no Nidhi none can do anything, because this is the culture under which we are ruled so far. Nidhi cannot do anything. Neither Congress nor their Chamchas allow him to do anything. One can visualize in every corner of Indian life this desparity, in the name of Religion, minority etc. We have to live like this for another 70 years and if personalities like Modhi or Amith Shah are in power to lead us, may see the changes then, after 70 years.

  13. In this case, before fingering anyone we have to think twice or thrice or more. PM requested each & everyone to stay wherever you are at present, don’t come out. And it is the local govt’s responsibility to provide food and shelter to every migrant and poor. The MLA has done a blunder by violating the lockdown. But the sentiments of parents towards their children also be looked into. They will go at any extent to save their children. So is the MLA has done here. Here we realised the difference between powerfull and powerless, which have no remedy at present. During this lockdown we have seen thousands of violation and unforeseen incidents throughout in India. So if we take an assessment of each and every incident, it will not end in near future.

  14. Really speaking My son is also stuckup at Calcutta who is studying in Satyajit ray film institute in calcutta. Being the middke class family and no god father who can help us so that my son can safely cole back home at Thane,Mumbai.
    As a parents, We can only wait till lockdown to finish. As a rule, It should be applicable to all, no discrimination of rich and poor. People should think and behave especially you are elected leader.

  15. I feel extremely saddened by seeing a 12 year old girl walking to her death only because she was poor. Look at the big shots like Yerudappa. He is celebrating wedding ceremony with lot fanfare only because he is rich and powerful. These contrasting stories break the common man’s faith on the three pillars of the government-judiciary, executive and legislature

  16. There are hundreds of such cases of inequality! Some agency must keep count. Start the list from Kovind, our president, Amit Shah, Gujarathi Chief Minister. One MLÇ of Karnataka has sent a plane to London to get her daughter, Film actress Bharati, travelled from Mysore to Bangalore, Former Minister came to Bangalore from home town, Sadananda Gowda is seen one day in Bangalore and another day in the company of Rajnath! List is unending! But misery of the poor who died due to Tughalki ferman is heart rendering! Is it for such discriminatory act we fought for freedom? Courts to lost their sheen!

  17. How conveniently the Journalist has zeroed on ONLY the BJP related cases and completely ignored the VIP culture existing in the opposition club. As a true journalist one should have highlighted all sides. He has conveniently forgot to mention the grand wedding ceremony of the JDU Mr Kumarasway’s son and many other VIP culture cases occuing in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala, AP, etc. After all how can he write such a thing ? One never should point fingers within the family of corrupt opposition. Of course JDU got a nice backing from Mr Yedurappa – maybe JDU is already planning to join the BJP in near future – they have become totally irrelevant in their state in its present form.

    Mr Maneesh Chhibber, it is for pervert minded journalists like you that Modi will once again win in 2024. People like you in the Media are perfect examples of creating phenomenal hatred for the opposition and a God-like adulation for Modi no matter what he does, none of his weaknesses will be challenged by the people of India when they vote. Keep them coming – you can keep writing your biased, one-sided, hatred spewing blogs but you do not have any ability to twist or influence the majority of Indians. As of now we can clearly see that the Khan Market Gang will continue to remain utterly frustrated and unemployed at least till 2029.

    • “Khan market gang” – like it! 🙂
      They are a bunch of holier than thou intellectual terrorists.

    • Pm,Cm,MP,MLA and all Government sectors are getting salary every month without fail even in this crucial lockdown period. More than 80 crores people fully depending on daily work and wages.How they will manage and maintain their family.. Rs. 500 has given to the poor people..is it enough for 40 days? Any one think about it? Instead of covid-19 deaths,hunger deaths are more. Can the Government give Rs.500 to all government employees? Will they run family for 40 days?
      Poor people are forced to put in the dark.

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