VALUE OF LIFE IN INDIA
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"The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -- AESOP, "The Wolf and the Lamb", Aesop's Fables
When are the authorities, by law, punishable for causing death? Who is criminally liable when the introduction of a policy kills a 100 people, and the centre responds by saying, “bear the pain”. This response, without any spec of remorse for the lives lost and their families, is a confession of guilt made openly to the public.
When 22 people get crushed in a stampede caused by overcrowding on a colonial built railway footbridge, does the majority party suspend a manager on duty, or does the railway ministry as a whole, take responsibility for murder when they knowingly do not use the concession granted (11 crore) for its expansion ?
Lets consider the case of Uphaar Cinema Fire, the final verdict came four years later on 20 November 2007, and the quantum of sentences were given out on 23 November, in which 12 people, including the two Ansal brothers, were found guilty, and later convicted for of various charges including, causing death by negligent act, and were given the maximum punishment of two years’ rigorous imprisonment.
The point here is, if private citizens can be booked for death by negligent act, why not politicians ?
Why does uneasiness grapple us when we think of taking a solid stand against an eminent politician? The law is what governs us all, even the politicians and the gaddi warmers. We are law abiding citizens and when a law is made, despite considering the short term repercussions of it, we rebel and demand justice. And that is what I seek to do. I demand for justice in the name of India and humanity.
The Indian Penal Code 1860 defines —
304A. Causing death by negligence
Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The centre did not take any steps to make sure that the elderly, the sick and the most directly impacted sections , i.e., people with no direct access of a bank, of society are taken care of. People died standing in queues, committed suicide due to shock, and even worse, due to inability to pay for fuel on their way to the hospital and some in the hospital itself due to inability to pay for their treatment. Who caused this? Who is answerable ? I’m sure that having a diverse range of intellectuals in the cabinet has some perks. They must have weighed the consequences of such an impetuous decision before making it public.
Were our fundamental rights not infringed by such an action ?
I demand for new guidelines to be followed by the legislation whilst implementing a policy as impactful as demonetization, as well as, affixation of accountability on the ministers responsible for allowing the public to use infrastructure that is flawed.
Maybe the idea behind demonetization was genuine, but the implementation caused grievous injury, emotional harm, and deaths. My question to those epitomes of justice is, “What is the cost of human life in India”. Does the population overpower the apparent ‘inconvenience’ that the PM spoke of?
Does the rule of law not apply to those in power ?
Imagine the psychological trauma that millions went through after hearing the news. And not to forget, anti depressant sale in India has doubled since. Isn't anyone liable for this scenario ? Why is everyone keeping silent ? Causing psychological trauma, knowing that it would have severe effects on someone, amounts to harassment.
At Elphinstone Railway Station, people commuted to buy goods for dusshera - the festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. Their families received dead bodies as a gift.
And what I demand for is nothing new, many heads of state have indeed been imprisoned in the past. Someone needs to be held accountable.
And there are many legal loopholes which prevent accountability, thereby giving rise to tyranny.
If the implementation caused minimal inconvenience to the general public, I would have been fine with it. But having authority does not mean that you play with the lives of your own fellow citizens while battling black money. Where does Article 21 fit in here ? Think about the old man who died while all he wanted was his 'own' money. What about his family ? Could they say goodbye ? When someone abruptly 'orders' you to stand in queues and changes your economical world within a speech, I do not see a democracy.
I see dictatorship in disguise.
This petition is going to be criticised, I know. And I appreciate that as the criticism would be a result of freedom of expression, our fundamental right, just like Article 14 (Rule of Law) and Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty).
You decide, my common woman and man, if you want justice to prevail or would like to submit to an emerging dictatorship. If we condone this now, we will be paving way for disaster -- the effects of which have already begun.
I love my country, and value the lives of its citizens. Do you ?
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