The saga of Vikas Dubey | HT Editorial
National  
The Hindu

Let his arrest be the beginning, not the end of the story
 

 

Vikas Dubey — who led an attack on police officials, killing eight and injuring another seven, when they had gone to nab him in a Kanpur village last week — has finally been arrested. His story, and the story of the search for him, is a tale of the corrosive political culture of Uttar Pradesh, the mockery of the rule of law in much of the Indian hinterland, and the close — and ever deepening interlinkages — between politics and crime.
 
The fact that Dubey has got away for so long is a reflection of the manner in which the political and administrative machine has worked in many parts of India. As the political scientist Milan Vaishnav has persuasively argued, those with criminal antecedents have the finances to enter the political fray, ensuring supply; their reputation as those who can “deliver” to constituents, in the backdrop of a patronage based political system, enhances the demand for them. Dubey clearly had close political links — and must have performed useful services for politicians — which ensured that he was protected. But how can a political dispensation protect a criminal? That is where the broken law and order machinery comes in. Till there are police reforms in India — ensuring autonomy to the police force, and insulating them from political pressures — local authorities will seek their own slice of the cake and be a part of this nexus. Regimes will change, but that will only change the nature, and in UP’s case, the caste-profile of criminals — crime will persist.
 
The general consensus is that Dubey went too far this time — and no political regime can now protect him without political costs. He must, indeed, be brought to justice for the long and heinous list of crimes he has allegedly committed. But that cannot be the end of the story. His arrest must mark the beginning of a broader investigation into the trend of gang lords thriving with impunity, trigger a much needed process to change electoral incentives and tackle the criminalisation of politics, lead to the creation of a criminal justice system which can act independent of partisan pressures, and bring about a qualitative change in the political-security environment of UP. That will be true justice for the citizens in the state.
 

 
 


 
 


 
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