In spite of his composed demeanour, the presence of Vito Corleone – played brilliantly by Marlon Brando in the Godfather – had a chilling effect on his adversaries. In contrast to the calm yet unsettling persona of Vito, Sonny Corleone’s character was that of a trigger-happy man. The reason for such a difference between father and son was simple. The latter was armed with a sense of immunity that came from being the son of a mafioso; a belief that no crime is big enough to punish him, given the fact that he is the son of a Godfather. If that belief was to be struck to the hilt, then the brashness inherent in the likes of Sonnys would disappear in no time.
When Janata Dal (United) legislator’s son Rocky Yadav allegedly shot dead a teenager just because his car was overtaken by the victim, he had the same sense of powerful immunity being bestowed upon him by the virtue of being the son of a mafia don and a politician.
But his belief proved wrong and for all good reasons. His surrender and arrest would have been mere legal antics, with no substantive hope of justice, had the power structure that breeds such criminals would not have faced the state ire, the way it has in the last two days.
Following the alleged murder of 19-year-old Aditya Sachdeva, Rocky’s mother Manorama Devi was suspended from the party. Further, her son Rocky and husband Bindeshwari Prasad ‘Bindi’ Yadav were arrested and sent to judicial custody for two weeks.
On Wednesday, Manorama Devi’s residence was sealed off by officials of the Excise Department as the police seized six bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from her residence during a raid to nab the absconding Rocky Yadav. Prohibition has been imposed in the state of Bihar and possession/consumption of alcohol is now illegal. An arrest warrant was issued against Manorama Devi under the new state Excise law 2016, compelling her to go into hiding.
All these ‘strict actions’ by the Bihar police, put together, send a very strong message that is simple and straight: no one, no matter who you are, no matter whose son you are and what political patronage or power you yield, you cannot get away after committing such crimes.
The message inherent in the way Bihar police went after the Yadavs is quite clear – that the state in no way will allow vulgar display of muscle power, which has been a hallmark of Bihar politics. And this message is no small change in a state which for years could not guarantee the most basic fundamental right to its citizens – the right to life and liberty.
Following a decade long peaceful ‘state of affairs’, when Nitish Kumar formed an alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav, people in Bihar were struck by genuine apprehension of the return of ‘bad old days; an euphuism for the jungle raj that was perpetuated under Lalu’s 15-year-long tenure.
In December 2015, the murder of two engineers belonging to a private road building company had created unrest among people. The incident was preceded by the murder of a businessman who was shot dead in Muzaffarnagar and the killing of a sarpanch. All these incidents triggered this debate of return of the jungle raj, despite the fact that in all these cases the police was prompt in its action.
While such criminal acts can only be condemned, it cannot be seen as something exclusive to Bihar. There have been several instances when murder accused were lauded as ‘saviours’ by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
It can also not be seen as something intrinsic to a particular party. Cutting across party lines, thugs like Bindi Yadav have thrived and have been allowed to survive because of the political patronage they got in return of their ‘services’.
Political compulsions make these musclemen and mafias useful for political leaders and dispensing them off is not an easy task. But once it is done, it sends an even stronger message about the indispensability and undesirability of these elements, which live in perpetual belief of their immense worth.
What the Nitish Kumar government has done might cost him socially and politically but then, it will surely lead to a very different kind of politics – which perhaps Aditya would have cherished.
Published Date: May 12, 2016 07:24 pm | Updated Date: May 12, 2016 07:24 pm