What comes to our mind whenever we think about the word “Mob Justice” or “vigilantism”, off course an angry mob beating a person or two who may or (may not ) or (presumably) had committed a crime. The crime or a wrong doing may vary from pick pocketing to rape or murder, but the punishment doesn’t vary much, either beaten to death or left half dead.
What really goes behind these kinds of acts from the public and what are their repercussions, are these justifiable or not? these can not be answered without looking deeply into the issue
Justice vs mob justice
Before comparing the two just have an idea about the numbers involved. Roughly about a few hundred people get killed or lynched in various incidents of mob lynching per year, compare it to the number of people killed in road accidents every year which is above hundred thousand per year.
It is also way less than even the number of people dying as a result of mosquito borne diseases every year, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to discuss about mosquitoes instead of such trivial issue which affects a very few people among a huge population of a billion?
On the other hand, if the justice system is too slow and inefficient, police system is incapable, what choice does it leave to people of a country than to deliver justice on their own, also it is the fastest way. what is the harm if the ordinary peace loving citizens do some good work by eliminating some criminals from the society, after all, it is a traditional way of communities to deal with criminals or high level of crime in the country
Well, this way of thinking could not be more wrong. Mob justice or vigilantism is just a misnomer. Justice is a very complex term; and a long and exhaustive procedure is required to ensure it and more importantly, by the designated people who are specialist in the field. This may take some time but it always leaves 100 criminals unpunished than to punish 1 innocent.
According to a research, a typical mob takes on an average 10 seconds to give its verdict, less than the time one takes to tie up shoe laces!
Their decisions are often wrong and even if they are right in identification, mob can’t decide the severity of punishment
People die every day, causes are various but equally true is that many continue to live and they have a right to live. However heinous the crime might be, the Constitution gives every citizen right to be heard. The same ordinary, peace loving citizens turn into murderers, one criminal is eliminated and as a result, we get many new killers, so it is not hard to tell that the world is not getting any better.
Causes of the sharp rise
Cases from various countries around the world show that where ever there is rising social inequality, corrupt and unmotivated police, and inefficient judicial system, these incidents tend to rise. African countries like Ghana, Nigeria and a few South American countries including Guatemala, El Salvador etc are noted for these incidents. In India and Pakistan, religious fundamentalism has come out to be the important reason.
The rate at which information is shared and rate at which it is verified has a gap in which vigilantism finds its refuge.
Social media is spreading fake videos and false information at an uncontrollable rate. The regular media has become paid media and thus, it is very easy to play with people’s sentiments and manipulate them to riots and lynching. Also, moral policing has become very popular which is surprising in a liberal society
Even though many of the incidents have involved Muslims, mob violence has taken place on racial basis also which makes the problem more complex. It is now not limited to religious in differences. It has become really easy to provoke a mob to do some really unjustifiable things and the most alarming thought about it is that how can the conscience of the innocent people allow them to watch a person die painfully in front of their eyes? What kind of brain wash has been happening on the name of nationalism, gau raksha etc.?
The Way Ahead
It is a high time when such incidents have to be condemned and curtailed at any cost. It is a welcome step by Hon’ble Prime Minister to condemn such incidents but there is still a need to send a clear message to all the vigilante groups that none of this will be further tolerated. People have to have an idea about the damage it does to the image of India to the outside world. India has always be given a title of JAGADGURU (teacher of the world) so, it is our duty to protect that image. Also, Hinduism has been famous mainly because of its dynamism and tolerance to others. People have to understand that there is no place of such fundamentalist thinking in it. Also, the police system and judiciary will have to take responsible steps such that none of the innocent people become its victim again.
उसके कत्ल पर मैं भी चुप था मेरा नंबर अब आया
मेरे कत्ल पर आप भी चुप हैं अगला नंबर आपका है
As the above lines mean, if we remain silent now, we will be the next victim and others will remain silent and this will continue