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Welcome approach to crime scourge

The public is likely to warmly welcome the news that a Parliamentary committee, representative of all parties in the legislature, is to be formed to handle the soaring crime wave in the country. Consensus among our political parties on crucial issues facing the people and the State is rare and the broad agreement which has been reached on the crime conundrum is proof of its increasing magnitude.

No longer could the crime menace be dismissed as a matter for only the Government or the ruling party. Its runaway nature calls for consensual remedial measures, encompassing all sections of the body-politic. Indeed, it is as if crime has taken on a life of its own.

While no one could be dismissive of Government efforts to curb the crime wave, it is starkly evident that even one's personal security is no longer a matter over which one could be complacent. Crime, therefore, poses a common threat to every section of society and, therefore, needs to be curbed and eliminated on a consensual basis. Delayed action in this regard could prove costly.

The fact that all political parties represented in Parliament have decided to establish a special committee to handle crime precludes the possibility of any of these parties exploiting the crime issue for short-term political gain. This in turn means that crime busting would be tackled on the basis of relatively stable policies and parameters and would to a degree be protected against whimsical, haphazard handling.

Besides, the emerging containment measures would enjoy the backing of all major political parties and groupings. These conditions provide for consistency in the policy framework adopted on crime and in the consequent crime-combating strategies and tactics. The common, disquieting experience in relation to the handling of most other national issues, however, is that they change in accordance with the political fortunes of major political parties.

It is impossible to reflect on the crime crisis in isolation from the current debate on the reenforcement of the Death Penalty. The latter issue is being hotly debated in Parliament and the emerging dissonance of views on the subject points to its highly complex nature. Simple answers, apparently, cannot be evolved on this question, but we hope every effort would be made to re-invigorate and render doubly effective, the administration of justice system.

Ideally, we need to have a speedy crack-down on crime. Offenders should be brought to justice with the least delay and made to face the consequences of their actions in double quick time. The institutions of justice, in other words, should be seen to be vibrant, effective and active in the dispensation of justice. This aspect, we hope, will receive the urgent attention of the special Parliamentary committee on crime.

Some thought also needs to be given to the increasing social inequalities which lay the groundwork for proliferating crime. There is definitely the factor of social discontent bred by increasing affluence only among some, which needs to be addressed. All eyes need to be focussed on the dark underbelly of the globalization leviathan. It is hardly the great income leveller most sections took it to be. In fact, its seeming successes have only triggered violent counter-reactions in some parts of the West.

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