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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Fracas" at Trivandrum International Airport...continued

Following up from the reports of this incident from yesterday, not only as I had blogged it mind you, things seem to have gotten worse. Obvioiusly my inability to read Malayalam keeps me away from the news that's doing the rounds in that set of periodicals, but it's not any prettier in the English news either.

When we last saw them, "the accused" were being charged with assault on CISF personnel at the Trivandrum International Airport, and for being drunk and unruly to the civilians in general. That is to say, the charges levelled against the accused pertained to Sections 290, 341 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Now, with the CISF putting additional pressure on the local police to provide a more comprehensive finding of the details of this case, well, the accused will have a couple of more charges against them: Sections 353 and 323 of the IPC. Check out this article from The Hindu for more details.

In fact, this article goes on to say that the accused made "derogatory comments about 'Kerala women'" which caused the public to be offended. Funny. I've heard lots of people make jokes about women from different parts of India and the world, but when the public does it -- or when someone from the public makes a joke like this in public -- it seems to be alright. I'm not defending the accused. All I'm saying is that if you want to make a mountain out of a molehill, then you can twist any old thing to suit your purpose. This whole bringing up of this issue makes it seem, like it did yesterday, rather suspect. I can assure you that the State is not trying to clean up its act. If nothing else, the media has found it's next big public distraction and they'll milk till the end of this week. If it continues for much longer, they'll have hit the jackpot!

The following is an article from the The New Indian Express that states a couple of points, the most important one being that this case, or the investigation as it were, has been handed over to the "Assistant Commissioner of District Crime Records Bureau, Thiruvananthapuram City". Then, there's the "public/State pride" angle played up largely by the fact that the officers who first handled the case made it seem like nothing and let the accused off on bail. The involvement of an outsider, however, seems to have stirred the local populace into a bit of a frenzy. You can almost hear them shouting, screaming and banding together with flaming torches, like a lynch mob.

Finally, there's mention of a tearful apology made by the accused. Good for them. I'm surprised that they decided to stick it out and deal with any of the consequences. Maybe they're well connected, and therefore insulated from the reality of the situation. But as far as I'm concerned, this entire event is still "much ado about nothing." Don't know what I'm talking about? Wait for the next article which presents to the public the hardknock lives that "Sniffer docs" lead.

According to this article, "For the past six months, the doctors at the General Hospital had been [performing the alcohol test by personally sniffing people's breath]." Since this is an entirely arbitrary process, the doctors often "play it safe [by making] an enigmatic and neutral report." The statement that these doctors officially record is "The person has consumed alcohol but not under the influence." Hahahaha!!! I love this country because you can get away by doing nonsense like this. I mean, it's an obvious conduit to a more heinous landscape of events that transpire in the name of all that's righteous and just. The article goes on to state, much as one might expect, that such reports are profitable to the policemen who bring people in to be tested. How? Because if the perpetrator of the drunken act of being -- or driving a motor vehicle as the case may be -- does pay up, the report will be manually shredded before his eyes. Again according to this article, the accused had similar reports filed against them. I don't know what's scarier, the fact that occasionally little incidents like this are blown out of proportion, or the fact that things like this happen so often there's a system in place to bypass it every time. That's the story of this nation, I say.

Coming back to the 'fracas'-at-the-airport story, I'm looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. I can just imagine people sitting around and talking about two drunk guys creating a scene at the airport like it was somewhere near the scale of the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks. I'm surprised that there haven't been raving eye witnesses who gave teary second-by-second accounts of how they thought they were going to die but were suddenly saved. Having said that, however, and after seeing the footage of the accused proceeding to the police station in last night's news, I think that we're in for a bit of a long haul with this incident. Also, hopefully, some scam will come to light about how these two are being persistently persecuted by someone in a black suit standing behind the scenes: The real villain. Brace yourselves.

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