14 June, 2021

Draconian Shadow Of Sushasan

It’s come to this. Mr Good Governance passes a 'black law' in the dead of night—after a legislative day turned into a riot. Bihar wonders at the route Nitish Kumar is taking.

Photograph by PTI
Draconian Shadow Of Sushasan

Nitish Kumar is up against a belligerent Opposition breathing down his neck right from the word go in his fourth term as Bihar CM—an unusual situation given the docile role his rivals played earlier. In his first term, Nitish took the initiative to set up a fast-track court for cases against bahubali politicians and enacted a law to confiscate the property of officials facing corruption charges—houses of a former Bihar DGP and a secretary-level IAS officer were confiscated and converted into schools. While such initiatives earned Nitish the moniker of Sushashan Babu, or Mr Good Governance, he recently had a torrid time in getting a new bill—the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill 2021—passed during the budget session of the Vidhan Sabha.

Led by RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the Opposition dubbed it a “black law” that would enable the Special Armed Police Force to arrest anybody without a warrant on the basis of suspicion. As Tejashwi put it, the law would empower police to imprison a citizen merely on the basis of “belief”....

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