Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vigilante citizens or pseudo-moral hooligans?

Kerala as a society has always projected itself to be progressive, forward looking and intelligent. There is a high level of literacy across the state and this is simply not just based on if a person can write his/her own name, most people can read the daily newspaper. This state also has amongst the largest circulated newspapers in India. There are also the largest number of news channels in Malayalam, I’m just sharing a perception and not basing this on any fact.

Rajmohan Unnithan, one of the new leaders emerging in the Congress, was hounded, heckled and paraded in front of the media and subsequently taken to the police station in Manjeri and for what? Rajmohan was surrounded in the house he was with a friend/colleague/acquaintance of his by members of the PDP (People’s Democratic Party) and DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India). This group of vigilantes took it upon themselves to then hurl abuses at the duo, brand the woman a prostitute, tease them, harass them, rip their clothes (marginally, heck does that make it any less a crime?) and force the Police to book a case against them.

Paul Zachariah, noted social activity, commentator, columnist and write in Malayalam, wrote in the New Indian Express that Rajmohan took a short break as he was passing through Manjeri in Malappuram district. I’m not going to get into the morals of this episode, what outrages me is the fact that sort of vigilantism has been glorified by the media in Kerala and people alike. Manjeri for one is a well known red bastion, a strong hold of the communists and hence the DYFI showing up on Rajmohan’s doorstep is hardly surprising nor is the presence of their new found friend, the PDP.

Why would a shrewd politician like Rajmohan walk into a trap, if that’s version of this episode is true? This politician is a known Left baiter and has spoken acerbically about many such episodes in the past. He’s also played the villain role in a couple of movies. Once close to K Karunakaran he fell out with him after they split and was one of the harshest critic of Karunakaran’s son Muraleedharan who is currently trying his best to return to the Congress(I) after a failed stint trying to setup a third front in Kerala.

At the end of this apparently Rajmohan insisted that a medical test be conducted and no instance of sexual contact between the two could be proved. The media took it upon itself to telecast this sort of harassment ‘live’ as if it were of such national importance. Paul Z makes an interesting observation, he says the society in Kerala as such is starved for sex and hence this craving for sensationalism. Anyone who has been to “God’s own country” can vouch for the fact that except the big cities Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, life’s not easy at all for the women who have to travel by bus or train to their workplace and back.

What has the law enforcement agencies got to do by arresting and booking cases against two adults just because they were under the same roof? (Immoral trafficking!!!! Bullshit) Who gives these vigilantes the power to go about being the law and justice system all rolled into one? What if these two people were sleeping around? Who should be bothered by it? What happened to the progressiveness that marked the leftist ideals of yore?

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