Saturday, March 24, 2007

Justice finally ?


That is what his friends called him.

He was a lively person who graduated from IIM in 2003. He could have very well-chosen any cosy job or he could have left India for better opportunities. Instead he chose to join a government PSU,Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).After joining IOC, he realised the harsh realities which no institute teaches. Lakhimpur Kirki, the place he worked was in the sea of corruption, the petrol being sold there was adultered and oil mafia ruled there. He raised voice against them. He closed few petrol bunks and definitely the oil mafia didn't like this.

The result..six bullets found way inside the young man's body.

Manjunath Shanmugam,fondly called Machhan was dead.

That was on a fateful November 19,2005.

16 months after this , court had pronounced all the accused guilty in the killing of Manjunath Shanmugam. In India, where judicial system is known to take painfully long durations to deliver and the accused fiddle with the system, this was amazingly speedy trail. Thanks to the media and Manjunath Shanmugam Trust which never let the things settle down.

Manjunath Shanmugam Trust which was formed by few IIM alumnus to seek justise in the Manjunath murder case, made every possible effort to fight for the cause.They hired a lawyer, attended the court sessions and most importantly mobilised all the resources to fight the case. Newspapers constantly kept the case in limelight, IIM students & many supporting persons attended the sessions.

Now after 16 months the court gave the judgement and it is a small victory for the trust , media and all those seeking for justice in Manju's murder case.

But is this any justice for a soul like Manju's ? Does it in anyways fill the void left for his grieving parents & family ?

What about the adulteration of oil against which Manju laid his life fighting ? Is something better there?

Definitely not..

But at least it is a little satisfaction that some justice is done. A little satisfaction that this case also was not termed as 'robbery murder' as it happened for Satyendra Dubey's murder case.Most importantly it is a little comfort that people no longer are resigning with the fate and at least few of them are coming forward to fight the system.

Manjunath Shanmugam trust has established an 'Integrity award' in Manju's name to be given to people or group working to uphold the values in Indian corporate,government and public matters. Also a Right to Information helpline was opened which provides the help regarding the use of Right to Information(RTI) act .The act enables the people to question the government, inspect their files, take copies of govt. documents, inspect government works, take sample of material from government works.

Similarly the S. K. Dubey Foundation formed after Satyendra Dubey's murder is mobilising against the fight for such cases.

Atleast fight for Manju's case was backed up by his alumni, media & some noted personalities. But how many cases has the luxury of such backing-up?Government has been talking of 'Whistle-blower' policy which provision to protect the whistle blowers.But there are no signs of it seeing light.

But the question which haunts is still how many more lives like Manju & Satyendra needs to be sacrificed?

Will the sacrifice of this martyrs go wasted?

PS: As you read this, court will decide on the exact punishments to be given for the accused in Manju's case.High chances that the sentence will be questioned in higher courts.