Crime is often viewed as a social and moral issue, with explanations ranging from individual characteristics such as lack of impulse control or poor upbringing, to larger societal factors such as poverty and inequality. However, one often overlooked aspect of crime is its connection to politics.
Crime can be seen as a political phenomenon, influenced by policies and power structures, and with the potential to shape and be shaped by political events. The influence of politics on crime can be seen at all levels, from local to national and even international. At the local level, politics can shape the way law enforcement operates and crimes are prosecuted.
In some cases, political corruption can lead to a breakdown in law enforcement and an increase in criminal activity. Additionally, policies such as mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws have been shown to disproportionately affect marginalized communities and contribute to mass incarceration. At the national level, politics can have a significant impact on crime rates.
One example is the war on drugs, which has been heavily influenced by political motivations. While the stated goal of the war on drugs was to reduce drug use and drug-related crime, many argue that it has instead led to an increase in both. The policies implemented as part of the war on drugs, such as mandatory minimum sentences and the use of informants, have also been criticized for disproportionately affecting communities of color.
Politics can also shape the way that crimes are perceived and addressed by society. One example is the way that terrorism is often treated as a political issue rather than a purely criminal one. This can lead to a focus on preventing and responding to terrorism through military or diplomatic means, rather than through traditional law enforcement channels.
Similarly, hate crimes and other forms of politically motivated violence can be difficult to address because of the underlying political ideologies and beliefs that motivate them. The relationship between politics and crime is not one-way. Crime can also have a significant impact on politics, particularly in situations where crime is perceived to be a threat to political stability.
In some cases, political leaders may use the threat of crime as a way to justify authoritarian measures, such as increased surveillance or restrictions on civil liberties. This can be seen in the way the United States responded to the 9/11 attacks, with the passage of the Patriot Act and other measures that were justified as necessary for national security but which, many argued, went too far in limiting individual rights.
Case of Nepal
Politics and crime are often intertwined, and Nepal is no exception. The influence of politics on crime can be seen in various ways, from the manipulation of law enforcement agencies to the protection of criminals with political connections. This article discusses the influence of politics on crime in Nepal and provides some examples to illustrate the situation. One of the primary ways that politics influences crime in Nepal is through the manipulation of law enforcement agencies.
Political parties in power often use the police and other law enforcement agencies to target their political opponents, rather than focusing on preventing crime. This has resulted in a lack of trust in law enforcement agencies and a rise in vigilante justice. Another example of the influence of politics on crime in Nepal is the protection of criminals with political connections. For example, during the 1990s, the Maoist insurgency in Nepal was fueled in part by political grievances, and the group carried out a number of violent crimes in pursuit of their goals.
Criminals with ties to political parties often enjoy immunity from prosecution, and their crimes are overlooked or dismissed. This has created a culture of impunity where criminals with political connections can commit crimes without fear of punishment. Political instability can also contribute to an increase in crime. When a country is in a state of political upheaval or uncertainty, it can lead to a breakdown in law and order, which can create opportunities for criminals to operate with impunity.
For example, during the period of political instability in Nepal following the end of the monarchy in 2008, there was a significant increase in crime rates. In 2019, a member of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of a rival party member. The accused was a close aide to a powerful politician and had been reportedly involved in a long-standing feud with the victim. The notorious Lalita Niwas land scam is another paramount example.
In India too politics and crime seem to be interconnected. The Vyapam scam is a massive admission and recruitment scam that involved several politicians, bureaucrats, and middlemen in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The scam involved the rigging of entrance exams for medical and engineering courses, as well as recruitment tests for government jobs. Many politicians, including the state’s former education minister, were accused of involvement in the scam.
The politicization of the judiciary is another factor that has contributed to the influence of politics on crime in Nepal. The judiciary is supposed to be an independent body, but in reality, it is often influenced by political parties. This has led to a situation where the wealthy and powerful can influence the outcome of legal proceedings, while the poor and marginalized are left without justice.
The nexus between politics and crime is also evident in the way criminal gangs operate in Nepal. Many criminal gangs have links to political parties, and they use their political connections to expand their criminal activities. These gangs are involved in various criminal activities, including extortion, smuggling, and human trafficking. The influence of politics on crime in Nepal has also resulted in a rise in corruption. Politicians and government officials use their positions of power to enrich themselves, often through illegal means. This has led to a situation where corruption is rampant, and the government is unable to provide basic services to the people.
What can be done?
The influence of politics on crime in Nepal is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted solution. The manipulation of law enforcement agencies, the protection of criminals with political connections, the politicization of the judiciary, the rise of criminal gangs, and corruption are all interconnected factors that need to be addressed. It is essential to create a culture of accountability and transparency, where politicians and government officials are held accountable for their actions. Only then can we hope to reduce the influence of politics on crime in Nepal and create a safer, more just society for all.
Understanding the relationship between politics and crime is crucial for developing effective policies and strategies for addressing crime and promoting social justice.
The influence of politics in crime is a serious issue in Nepal, and it is important to find effective solutions to address this problem. One potential solution is to implement stronger laws and regulations that limit the involvement of politicians in criminal activities. Another solution could be to increase the accountability of law enforcement agencies and ensure that they are free from political interference.
‘This can be achieved by providing them with adequate resources, training, and support to carry out their duties without fear or favor. Additionally, it is important to promote transparency and accountability in the political system by strengthening institutions such as the judiciary, media, and civil society organizations. This can help to hold politicians accountable for their actions and reduce the level of corruption in the government. ‘This can be achieved by providing them with adequate resources, training, and support to carry out their duties without fear or favor. Additionally, it is important to promote transparency and accountability in the political system by strengthening institutions such as the judiciary, media, and civil society organizations. This can help to hold politicians accountable for their actions and reduce the level of corruption in the government.
Moreover, promoting awareness and education among the general public about the negative consequences of political involvement in crime can also play a crucial role in reducing the influence of politics in crime. This can help to create a culture of accountability and discourage individuals from engaging in criminal activities for political gain. Overall, reducing the influence of politics in crime in Nepal requires a multi-faceted approach that involves strengthening institutions, promoting accountability, and educating the public. By taking these steps, we can create a more just and equitable society where everyone is held accountable for their actions, regardless of their political affiliations.
In conclusion, crime is not just a social or moral issue, but also a political one. Politics can shape the way that law enforcement operates, the policies that are implemented to address crime, and the way that crimes are perceived and addressed by society. Additionally, crime can have a significant impact on politics, particularly in situations where it is perceived to be a threat to political stability. Understanding the relationship between politics and crime is crucial for developing effective policies and strategies for addressing crime and promoting social justice.
Bikash Yadav is pursuing BALLB from Nepal Law Campus, Kathmandu.