Adyar Gopal Parivar
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Crime and the Politicians
Candidates with criminal record
How print and Electronic Media fool the public
By Mohan Shenoy
Crime and the Politicians
Candidates with criminal record
How print and Electronic Media fool the public
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candidates is one such sensational story. There are certain NGOs calling themselves Election Watch
Committee or some such vigilante nomenclature that feed the media with their stories and make hey while
the sun shines. What kind of interest they have in putting out these stories to create scare among the
public is uncertain. These stories are told in bits and pieces so that the public can be easily fooled.
‘criminal record’ is not defined properly. There is no transparency in the functioning of these so called
public interest organisations. The public should be aware of these people who have veiled interests to If
the story reveals the nature of the criminal record of these politicians then it would have brought out the
fact that these charges have all originated in the wake of the candidates' political activities and not any
usual hard-core criminal activities.
The most glaring example of a political criminal record foisted by the state government against an opposite
party leader is that of Uma Bharathi who was charged with attempt to murder in Hubli for her exhortation to
the party workers to protest the decision of the then government of Karnataka to hand over the Idga
Maidan to Muslim organizations, and the subsequent deaths that occurred during the melees and police-
firing that followed.
Will any sensible voter consider Uma Bharathi to have attempted to murder any one in the case cited
above?
The Watch Committees wish to sensationalize the issue of charge of criminal record of the politicians to its
own glorification and not really to eliminate the practice of the political parties of giving tickets to the
candidates with criminal record.
If you look at our political leaders in the past, most of the worthy national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi,
Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhashchandra Bose, Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rajaji, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
and especially George Fernandes, all had criminal charges filed against them, by the governments of the
day, but these national heroes were not considered criminals by the Indian public, and for good reason.
There are very few real criminals among the candidates but their numbers do not indicate that politicians
are basically criminals or that there are too many candidates with criminal record. Most of the politicians
have fought for the rights of their party workers and for the party principles. In the course they have had to
break the law to some degree such as defying the restrictions imposed by the law and order machinery of
the state. There are political leaders that have defied Section 144 restrictions or even defied the curfew
laid down by the administration to control violence during protests or strikes. These leaders were arrested
and criminal charges were foisted on them. FIRs were filed against them and naturally they were criminal
cases. But these leaders are not the run-of-the-mill criminals that commit robbery, burglary, rape, murder
etc. Because they have these charges foisted on them and the charges come under the Criminal courts
jurisdiction, they are called ‘criminal records’.
They are not really criminals but only politicians that were doing what they thought is the right thing to do
to get work done for the people in their constituencies.
The stories that the media put out to glorify the ‘criminal records of the politicians’ lump together a large
number of good political fighters among the candidates with a very small number of real criminals. This
results in sensationalizing the story. They do nothing to help democracy.
Such reports in the media are worthy of being thrown in the dustbin.

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