Monday, November 14, 2005

The media and the bad boys

If you live in Mumbai, don't be surprised if you find your vehicle missing, or if you have been fined a hefty parking fee for the so called, "illegal-parking". NDTV did a coverage on the problem of disappearing vehicles followed by complaints by the hapless vehicle owners.
It was discovered that the traffic police owns over 50% of the towing business and pockets 35% of the towing fine, which is a cool 200 bucks. A portion of the fine (Rs.100) goes into the state coiffure.
Towing contractors in Bombay are forced to tow vehicles for the cops just to stay in business. Often vehicles that have not violated parking rights are towed away. The contractors reason that they would rather humour the cops instead of facing harassment.

In Delhi, yet another incident was reported, involving a cop Satya Raj, who demanded Rs.15,000 plus additional money as bribe for the release of Himanshu's body, who hanged himself due to monetary problems. Himanshu's bike was taken away by ICICI bank since he could not pay the loan installments on his bike. It was only through his bike that Himanshu kept the fires burning at home. All that changed when his bike was seized and unable to manage his financial problems, he hanged himself. However even after his death, the family suffered at the hands of the cops. In particular Satya Raj who was assigned to the case kept demanding money, and threatened the family with murder charges if his demands were not met.
The family approached NDTV with their problem who promptly caught the cop accepting bribe on a hidden camera. Satya Raj audacioulsy states that he will ask for money whenever he wants. As far as he can see it, "Doctors and judges are the biggest crooks. Now a person who got bail will not believe that the judge took the money. He will say we took the money".
There have also been other incidents involving cases of rape in police stations.
Now, if you take the law into your own hands, then you have a charge-sheet against your name. But when the system is abused by those who are supposed to protect it, what are you supposed to do? You are either given in to thier demands or kill yourself? In such instances where the comman man is strangulated by the viciousness of law, his only recourse is to turn to the watch-dogs of the instituition, the media. Eventhough the media is criticized for publishing news that is just sensationalism, its impact on the masses and on the government as a whole cannot be undermined. The media for its part should strive to protect the interests of these lesser mortals.


My Ramblings... said...

Hey AquaM,
I did see the NDTV report on the cop who took money and denied it later. But the towing thing did come as a surprise.

Mrudula said...

Our country is so corrupt. I can't help but sound cleched by stating the obvious.

aquamarine said...

yeah, i know guys. There is no hope!


still_figuring_out said...

oh dear. what an awful situation. bribery exists in every country; even mine, but it seems like child`s play when compared to this!

Rita said...

I saw that NDTV report about Satyaraj too. But I must admit that common people have also become smart. It was a smart on the part of the family to inform NDTV. Are people finding ways of dealing with corruption?

aquamarine said...

Still figuring out,
the situation is far worse acutally. I have just highlighted two cases that were on television.
It's really really sad.

Hey Rita,
Yepp,when you have no choice and if the media wants news, why not feed them with useful stuff like our corrupt desi cops!!
it certainly paves the way for others who find themselves in similar situations.