By Gitanjali Maria:
The frisking of the Australian sports minister at the Commonwealth Games Village before being allowed to walk to the residential block proved a point that India too can be strict with its security rules and treat everyone equally without giving anybody any spry of special status. The visiting minister’s car was stopped at the checkpoint outside and was not allowed to enter the village because its driver did not have accreditation. This showed that India too is not weak in enforcing rules and also gave a fitting reply to the Australian government that has been highly critical of the Indian security arrangements for the Games.
Indian ministers too have previously been subjected to such security procedures at foreign airports. But unlike the Australian minister who cooperated with the checks and responded positively (saying that ‘I got frisked, which is good. It means that the Indian authorities are taking things very seriously’) the Indian authorities have always raised a hue and cry over these routine checks when meted out to our own political heavyweights.
We have pampered our politicians with special privileges and facilities. Long lines of traffic queues can often be found when a particular road is used by a VIP and the movement of ordinary citizens in that route thus temporarily suspended. Visits of dignitaries to the city means troubles for the common man of the city, who has to let these so-called VIP pass before he can continue on his way. Flights are often delayed to suit their whims and seats in theatres and trains are reserved for them while the ordinary man waits in the queue. Just imagine the reaction of the political circles had it been the car of a ruling MP or MLA or even his distant relative that was stopped at the Commonwealth village? The poor security official at the gate would have had to face an inquiry!
There are many things that we have to learn from other countries. India has taken a step to show that no man is above the other when security of everyone else is in question, but it seems that this view excludes India’s own politicians. Only in India would we find politicians allowed to jump queues, travel without tickets or put a whole city on wait. When some years ago ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s son was found drunk and arrested, he and his wife went to the police station to get him out. Can you imagine such a situation in India? In the first place, no Indian cop would dare to arrest a PM’s son and if so, then too only a telephone call would be needed to get him out.
Ministers often forget that they got the VIP tag just because the ordinary citizens of the soil chose to bestow it upon them. It is the duty of the ‘VIP’ not to cause trouble to those who considered him responsible and worthy to serve the nation. And once the electorate decides to remove him from his post then he is no longer a VIP and not entitled to his earlier benefits. Isn’t it hypocritical for the person who frames the law to not obey it?
To instill respect for rules and laws in the common citizens, the leaders themselves should set an example. Only then the masses too would follow suit.