Though in India a law bars convicted criminals from contending elections, it is to be noted that the ruling Congress party, whose MLAs and MPs have hit the headlines since last year for misbehaving with women, opposed such a law; and the opposition to the law was headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Even after the law came into being, one wonders whether it is being adhered to strictly.
Add to it the fact that hundreds of crimes by people in high places go unreported due to police turning a blind eye and deaf ear to complaints and the victims being intimidated into silence. Also add to it that crimes against women led to the downfall of the Congress government in New Delhi after the horrific gangrape of a young woman on a bus. If on the eve of the elections, when the spotlight is at its most glaring, politicians don’t fear to show their base instincts, one shudders to think how they behave when their powers are consolidated and they are away from the glare of public eyes.
Sudarshan Lohia, Abu Dhabi
• The alleged molestation of actor-turned-politician Nagma by a Congress MLA has also to do with the prevailing public concept, even this day, of film actors being people of loose morals. The revealing costumes worn by an actor in a film are no indication of her personal preferences; indeed, they indicate the public preference or what the producers and directors think the public want to see. The hard work and harder rat race actors have to survive to even make it to one simple role is not known to audiences; they see just the glamour. So it becomes a kind of corollary in the vapid public mind that actors will put up with propositions and lewdness. Sad that such warped thinking continues even when actors have shown the steel they have in them, like Shabana Azmi or J. Jayalalitha.
Neil Rubens, by email