Touria Prayag's Blog

Trial by opinion 19 December 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

Provisionally charged with giving instruction
to commit a crime and conspiracy to fabricate
evidence, Roshi Badhain, out on bail, surprises
journalists present in court by announcing there
and then his intention to join politics. Why not? The
court yard is as good a place as any to announce
such a decision and, if you are out on bail, you probably
already have one foot in politics anyway.
Badhain refuses to say which party he intends
to join – with Pravind Jugnauth standing right
behind him, the suspense is unbearably excruciating!
– and that decision belongs to him and him
only. Not that it makes any difference to anyone’s
life. However, if I could give him a piece of advice
– which I’m not going to charge for this time – I
would suggest that he join an opposition party –
really anyone. Even Le Parti Malin will do.
This piece of advice by the way is free for anyone
else willing to take it. As long as you are in the
opposition, anytime you are collared by the police
or you have to make an appearance in court because
you have been caught completely fl at-footed,
you can swat the accusations levelled against you
with the line that “human rights are being rolled
back” and claim that because you are a serious
political contender, you are being harassed by your
opponents through the police and the courts of
law. Some well-meaning journalist may rush to
relay the information, you will spring into the
limelight and some mysterious organisation in
dire need of making itself known might even give
you its unconditional support. There! You are already
a politician. I mean a hero and a martyr. If
you have enough friends on Facebook, they will
rope their ‘friends’ into a support group – sometimes
without the ‘friends’ being aware of who they
are supporting or if they are supporting anyone
– and you soon fi nd yourself with thousands of
supporters and a lobby group.
In the middle of the brouhaha, nobody will ask
themselves – or you – the question of whether there
is any proof of your innocence or your guilt. These
are secondary matters. It’s not – perish the thought
– as if we were living in un état de droit where only
a court of law is able to decide on your guilt or innocence.
The only proof of innocence or guilt is the
one the public wants to hear or not hear. This tells
you all you need to know about justice and public
opinion in this country.
I have seen this movie time and time again and
it will not have a happy ending. No one is saying
that our police are the best asset this country has.
There are some nasty pieces of work there. Nobody
is saying that Nitesh Ramdharry is an angel. He
is not claiming that either. What we are saying is
that – as citizens – we don’t have enough information
to try other citizens no matter what their
political colour is. Those who have the information
should act on it: The Mauritius Revenue Authority
should fi nd out why receipts were not issued –
oh, sorry, why those who handed out hundreds of
thousands of rupees in fees somehow forgot to pick
up their receipts – the courts need to fi nd out
whether there is any circumstantial evidence
which gives credence to Ramdharry’s accusations
– like telephone calls exchanged between Bhadain
and his client or with his cousin Yash Bhadain –
which are damning. Those are the issues Bhadain
should address. His political ambitions are neither
here nor there.

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