A law unto themselves | india | Hindustan Times
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A law unto themselves

They are above master plans and land use. They finance politicians and hire retired bureaucrats, offer junkets and gifts to serving government servants who bend rules and regulations to help them. Any upright government servant, who comes in their way, is hounded, harassed, transferred or sidelined. They try to get monopoly of government supplies, manage to get subsidies and contracts.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 01:16 IST

They are above master plans and land use. They finance politicians and hire retired bureaucrats, offer junkets and gifts to serving government servants who bend rules and regulations to help them. Any upright government servant, who comes in their way, is hounded, harassed, transferred or sidelined. They try to get monopoly of government supplies, manage to get subsidies and contracts.

Such mafia groups don’t kill, they don’t indulge in street fights, but manage to cause irreparable damage to the system. Instead of police interventions and investigations, they, if caught at all, face inquiries set up by the government.

What happens to lengthy inquiries is a matter of guess. They are usually a law unto themselves. In popular parlance, they are referred to as land mafia, liquor mafia, contract mafia, railway mafia, forest mafia, sports mafia etc.Occasionally, local development authorities and the police wake up and start a drive to hound out such groups who might have occupied government land/ buildings with impunity. But such drives are sporadic and do not ensure strong action against mafia on a sustained basis, sometimes due to political clout and nexus with the administration.

II- Religious mafia-
Suffice it to say that the religious mafia is not confined only to any one religion. There are all kinds of godmen/ preachers, who occupy or build temples/ ashrams on public land with donations/ support from the gullible public. In fact, such religious places are turned into powerful money churning establishments. They do not pay any tax and police cannot enter the premises. These holy places enjoy Vatican-like autonomy without a care for the environment, police or municipal byelaws. These religious leaders can march anywhere, create caste and communal tension, intimidate police and keep entering politics while exploiting religious sentiments.

III- Educational and recreational mafia
Like the finance mafia, they also believe in circumventing rules. Under the umbrella of NGO/trust/ foundation, they run profit-making institutions, which more often than not flout various laws of the land. They have made education a lucrative business. They open schools and colleges, take donations, or high fee and appoint people of questionable merit to run professional colleges and largely produce unemployable youth.