Convicted godmen: Cops, Judiciary restore public faith
By Jagpreet Luthra
The conviction of two self-styled religious leaders, Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Aasaram, over the last eight months has not only restored the common Indian's faith in the judiciary but also in the police. The latter is a much-maligned agency of the government and most of the good work done by it gets overshadowed by the instances of villainy by some of its devilish elements, who have been known to murder men and rape women in police custody.
Comes along an Ajay Pal Lamba and the story of policing acquires a valiant and noble edge.
Just imagine the grit, the moral stamina, the faith in the law and the sense of responsibility it requires toenter a roomwhere Aasaram is sitting sunk in a sofa and Lamba telling him to get up and sit on the floor. That is what Lamba did when Asaram was brought after his arrest in Indore to the Jodhpur guest house in August 2013. It is a measure of the power of righteousness that Asaram not only did Lamba's bidding but also immediately confessed to his crime. Five years and 2000 threats later, it is but natural for the cop to write a eulogy to the system that delivers justice against the brute power of an Asaram. And Lamba is a privileged police officer.
Let us look at the assistant sub inspector and the constables, circumscribed by their humble designations, wading through a crowd of 8000 followers, being pushed, jostled and booed, inching their way forward to the Indore ashram and delivering a piece of paper-- the summon--to the devil himself. It took the 11-member police team from Jodhpur 10 hours to enter the ashram; the nerve it requires, the discipline it reflects and the commitment to duty it proves are exemplary.
The judge who sentenced Asaram, more than anything else, vindicated the valour of each of the policemen, who have helped redefine the word, daredevil. This is a David and Goliath story played out right in front of us and vivid proof of the lines from the Gita that say, "When you fight a righteous battle it is I (Krishna) who descends through you."
Let us recall the story of another devil quoting the scriptures to his world and the men in uniform who dared and nailed him. The SachaSaudaDera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The Haryana cops accompanying him in a car to the CBI court in Panchkula were once intercepted by heavily armed security men of the dera and shot at as the goons tried to free the dera chief.The cops did not back down, managed to overpower them and secure the custody ofGurmeet Ram Rahim.
Just like Lamba and his colleagues, the cops investigating the Dera chief's case too were under constant threat but they did not cave in.
The wheels of justice moved slowly in that case--15 long years--but they moved and the truth prevailed in that case as it did in this. That the Punjab and Haryana High Court took a suomoto notice of that case on the basis of a letter written by the two rape victims to the then prime minister, and referred it to the CBI, itself is proof of the exemplary law and justice system. Unlike in the Asaram case, the cops and judges in that case faced political pressure as well but did not succumb.
The role of the media, especially the local media, in both the cases has been exceptional. Ram Chander Chhatrapati, the editor of Poora Sach, paid with his life for exposing the criminal activities of the dera chief. He was shot dead by two men outside his house at point blank range in broad daylight in 2002, soon after he highlighted the case in his newspaper. In the Asaram case, the media played a key role in his arrest and in preventing violence against the police. But for the heavy presence of the media, the supporters of Asaram would have harmed the cops who went to arrest him.
These two cases are proof that even a few upright members of the police, judiciary and media can defeat mob, muscle and money power. As Lamba tweeted, after the verdict against Asaram, "Truth has won." And he did not forget to salute the brave girl who first lodged a complaint against Asaram. Indeed, each of them is an inspiring story of courage and the power of truth.
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