Corruption and the corrupt

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The Union Territory administration has prematurely retired 36 police personnel on charges of their involvement in corruption and criminal activities. The exercise was conducted as part of regular process of scrutiny of records of officials, who cross benchmarks of age/service period in terms of Article 226(2) of J&K CSRs. As per the government order, these employees were found involved in illegal activities, remained unauthorizedly absent from duties for a considerable period, underperformed, penalized in departmental enquiries and some of them wre found involved in corruption cases, facing serious criminal charges, and had  doubtful integrity. As the performance of these employees was found non-satisfactory, the government found their continuation in the Government service against the public interest.

The UT government has been repeatedly claiming to cleanse the system by isolating the corrupt public servants. Corruption is the menace that hampers the progress and development of any society in the world. When the corrupt practices become a normal, the society as a whole is destined to fail economically and rot morally. Deserving get neglected and those not deserving are benefitted thus disturbing the equilibrium of the society. Corruption breeds injustice and injustices triggers unrest which in no way is good for any healthy society. This menace, unfortunately is wide-spread all over the country, Jammu and Kashmir being no exception. In this backdrop, the UT government claims to have launched a serious and result-oriented campaign against corruption here. The retirement of police officials is part of the same campaign.

The decision made by the government is praiseworthy but there will always remain some ifs and buts which the administration needs to take care of. Corruption has all along been rampant in Jammu and Kashmir, so rampant that unfortunately it has, by and large been accepted by the populace as something inevitable. This acceptance has, in a way, provided a social sanctity to this menace. Gone are the days that arrest of any government official on the charges of corruption would shake people and arrested would feel the shame of public rejection. The situation has reached a stage where the most corrupt are the most respected ones. It feels good to read that the UT administration has made such major decisions to curb the menace but goes without saying that the task is not so easy. The main organization that deals with the menace – Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) – needs to be strengthened. The administration should identify the upright and honest officials with integrity to run this organization. The administration needs to have ample circles of checks and balances to ensure the organization that is assigned to fight corruption, doesn’t have any scope for any corrupt practices within.

Secondly, corruption is a disease that needs to be tackled from the top. Targeting small fries is not going to make any huge difference. Yes, it may help the administration’s PR exercise a bit but will not help fighting the corruption. Need is to widen the dragnet and catch the sharks who actually are the main culprits and use the small fry to do their dirty job. That said, the society, as a whole, should raise its voice against corruption in public life and offices. The religious leaders during Friday prayer sermons should talk about these kind of issues and make people aware that how Islam looks down upon corruption and the corrupt.

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