Rising Crimes Imperil Paradise
CONSIDERING the sudden spate of high-profile crimes involving drugs, gambling and fake currency notes in the state, one is led to believe that crime is a perennial affair and not the consequence of the vagaries of the economic scene prevalent at any time of the year. Although reveling in its fame as a highly sought after tourist destination, it would not be wrong to state here that Goa has also been maligned by insinuations of criminal gangs and their ‘nexuses’ marring the serenity of the region through their nefarious operations. Goa has frequently been in news for gambling, sex and drugs. Crimes like rape, murder and gang wars are the inevitable consequences. Nor has the government done anything exceptional to dispel notions of the state being a vice capital of the nation. With the sort of impetus given to tourism in the state, it is a wonder that the tourism illegalities, which have been receiving wide media coverage, have not been dealt with in an appropriate manner. These ‘rare reviews’ have only tarnished the fair name of this coastal paradise. While it is contended that Goa witnessed virtually zero crime between March and May when the lockdown was in force, it would imply that the policing during this period was at its best where the stern measures adopted deterred any criminal activity. Or was it the fear of the virus that kept those with a criminal bent of mind indoors! In any case, the relaxation of restrictions by the government has been pounced upon by criminal elements to renew their trades. It would however be unfair to criticise Goa police for failing to take advantage of the lull period to subsequently improve the law and order situation in the state. When it is more than obvious that criminal gangs have the tendency of taking advantage of crowds and movements in order to carry out their activities, would not it be practical to have the department shoring up its weaknesses. Shortage of personnel has been a problem that has always haunted the state police. But having said that, what sort of a reputation has Goa created for itself that visitors from the outside the state continue to blatantly violate the peaceful norms prevalent in this land of sun and sand!
PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Indian Judiciary At Crossroads
THE Supreme Court has been told that there are 4,442 pending criminal cases, where MPs and MLAs face trial in different courts. The data sent by High Courts shows that many cases pending for a very long time, and in several cases non-bailable arrest warrants issued by trial courts are yet to be executed. The SC and the Election Commission seem to have left it to the political class and the people to clean the system, both having been corrupted and manipulated. Being the final authority, the apex court must not use the ‘weapon of contempt’ against those who dare crticise, especially if the people are fellow judges and eminent members of the court. Former SC justice Markandey Katju alleged during a ‘deposition’ before a London court that “the Indian justice system has collapsed beyond redemption… There are very few honest judges, I would say above 50 per cent are corrupt”. Eminent activist and SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan has moved the SC appealing against his conviction in a contempt case. Democracy cannot survive without the common man having easy access to justice against the government and the rich and powerful. The SC must uphold the constitutional right to free speech, right to life and liberty equally.
JOHN ERIC GOMES, PORVORIM