On the Wharton-WIEF episode this is what I wrote a few days ago: “One of the things about USA that I admire is that they consider even one American being attacked as an act against the country. Reprisal is assured. Any American attacked anywhere in the world is taken very seriously by the US govt. In contrast, the Indian GOI values Indian lives very casually”. The anti-national elements thrill and cheer when an Indian is “snubbed” by other countries or institutes abroad because of their political ideologies. To the Congress and the Communists India or Indians never came first. So it’s hardly surprising that Italy has now refused to return the two Marines charged with two fishermen off the coast of Kerala. I don’t blame the Italians one bit. On the contrary I applaud their govt for standing by their citizens' right through the whole incident and events after.
It’s funny to think Ram Singh, the accused in the Delhi Gangrape case, decided to commit suicide in Tihar jail. And though there isn’t a final confirmation if it was suicide or murder Ram Singh could have used some innovative excuses. He could have asked to visit his wife or family for Holi or Shivratri and then disappeared. After all, another rape-accused, Bitty Mohanty, did jump parole and disappear for seven years. Till a few months back Durai Dayanidhi, son of a top politician and accused in the granite scam in Tamil Nadu, was absconding for many months till a court allowed him bail. In the Gopal Kanda case (Geetika Sharma suicide) another accused, Chanshivroop Singh has jumped bail and fled to the US. The sob story can go on and on.
In the famous murder case of Gulshan Kumar of T-Series tapes the Mumbai police had named musician Nadeem (of Nadeem-Shravan fame) as a suspect while he was abroad. Nadeem, who was in the UK then, decided never to come back to India and face trial and still lives in the UK. You would think it is quite silly of the police who want to nab a suspect but would announce his name so he can happily stay away from interrogation or trial. Any sensible Police unit would have stayed quiet till the suspect returned and then announced and arrested him. Nadeem, on learning he was named a suspect, stayed on in the UK and his asylum case went right up to the House of Lords who refused to extradite him. Back then the House of Lords was like a Supreme Court and the UK now has a separate Supreme Court. The rule for Indian police is to first be foolish and then play out a long-drawn extradition exercise. It’s a very repetitive story, isn’t it?
Other countries make it extremely difficult for us to get a criminal back to India for a trial. And I’m talking about an “Indian” criminal not a Honduran or a foreigner from Burkina Faso. But what happens if there is a rare case of someone being actually extradited? Remember Abu Salem? His wife was hired for Reality shows. Salem himself wanted to contest elections from Azamgarh (he would have won too). The Portuguese even demanded that Salem be returned for improper treatment of the accused. The late Jagjit Singh Chauhan, master-mind of the Khalistan terror movement was given asylum abroad. And our media never forgets to do favours to those absconding. MF Hussain who was wanted by Indian courts absconded and finally went into exile and died. The Indian media hailed him as a hero who was hounded out. No matter what the cause, a person running from Indian courts is a fugitive and must be treated as such. Media glorifies criminals and fugitives.
Lalit K Modi, the former IPL boss, is wanted in India for questioning. He is happily in the UK and frequently appears on TV shows as a panellist. Really nice! How did we get here? Firstly, it wouldn’t be wrong to say our govt has turned this into a Banana republic that many have chosen to call it. The Italian Marines were first sent home for Christmas and returned. They were allowed to go home again to vote. To vote? How absurd can this get? Most Armed-forces personnel are allowed to vote through post from where ever they are located. This could have been considered for the Italians too but no our govt wanted to be generous.
It now raises the suspicion why the Italians backed out. Of course, I maintain that I applaud the Italian govt for standing up for their Marines. They had disputed the legality of the shooting incident right from the start. It’s the Indian govt that has shamed itself and the nation. There will be whispers and then a general connection made that there may have been some backdoor deals with the Italians. This comes at a time when the Italians are investigating the Agusta Westland Chopper scam and many inconvenient names from India may have popped out. So is this a deal with the Italians to protect such names? Time will tell (or maybe time will bury this scam too).
What we do know is that far from being a super-power or any close to it, we have truly become the laughing stock of the world. When it’s terror we play “dossier-dossier” with Pakistan. I’m convinced we will do the same with Italy as we have been doing with Pakistan, with the Bofors players, with Nadeem and many such cases. The Indian govt has a permanent label on its head “come fly with us”.
PS: On a different note, I had a chat with Prasanna Vishwanathan of CRI last week. Those who didn’t get the link through Twitter/FB can hear it on Youtube.