September 11, 2010

vijay kumar, a curious victim of circumstance

An Indian film maker, Vijay Kumar, had to suffer indignity of the worst kind because he entered the US with brass knuckles and some documents the authorities found objectionable. He was handcuffed, branded a terrorist and jailed. After over 20 days in jail he is likely to be released soon only because he has agreed for ‘no contest’, and will be deported forthwith.

Indian embassy is reported to have left Vijay Kumar to fend for himself. We don’t know how much it would have mattered once his ‘demeanour’ was made a judicial case, but other countries are known to support the cases of their citizens implicated wrongly or excessively in a foreign country. At least it would have given Vijay Kumar’s side of the story some public exposure.

Ironically, Vijay Kumar is reported to have gone to the US to attend a congregation where he would have presented documents against extremism.

As it happens in India often [mostly with Indians, not foreigners if that is any consolation], the police authorities – keen to prove their alertness, achieve targets, take revenge or whatever – make a bombshell of a harmless crime committed due to lack of knowledge of some specific provision of local law. They use it to blackmail the victim and snare him further. All types of colour and fable are added to the supposed crime and he is incriminated in crimes the victim never committed. The record of the American police is not supposed to be much better.

Well, we all will soon forget Vijay Kumar’s story, feeling that he was ‘a victim of circumstance’ as his attorney says. Are we not too forgiving to a high-handed security system with no accountability and respect for dignity of the innocent?

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