Mob violence

AUDACITY of those who uploaded video clippings of the Tharoijam incident; and probably were part of the thrashing, implies that the mob was neither impressed with the law enforcement agencies nor undeterred by the fact that law of land will eventually catch up with them. The latest mob violence should be a matter of serious concern to politicians, administrators and the police. Manipur is no stranger to mob violence as could be comprehended from sporadic reports of public thrashing thieves and even persons who in inebriated condition create nuisance at localities. It has been common phenomenon that as soon as rumours spread the mob tries to bring justice to whatever the matter is on the spot itself. People don't follow the normal practice of reporting an unwanted incident or a crime to the police and then wait for the police to take necessary action. If the culprit is not known, the mob want to trace him or her all by themselves and if the culprit is known or even when there is a suspect for the purported crime, people want to bring instant justice in their own ways. Though it needs no reminding that animal nature of man runs antagonistic to the spirit of civilization and democracy, incidences of mob violence indicate that humanistic quality has been on the wane. Whenever mob violence occurs it suggests certain defects in the justice delivery system apart from exposing the trust deficit between public and the legal machinery. Even when the criminal or alleged criminal is in the hands of law (police), sometimes, the accused is attacked by a mob even within court premises when he is being brought for hearing.

There were also instances of womenfolk and victim’s party beating up the accused in the court premises before trial. Though there is no logic or justification for such acts, mob trials seem firmly implanted in the society. The advancement in information technology also seems to be having a negative impact in the state as well as in other parts of the country as most cases of mob violence are related with either spread of rumours or the technologically savvy youth misinterpreting information shared through the social media platforms for maintaining vigil as validation to act with impunity. Barring condemnations in the harshest terms and organisations staging protests to demand exemplary punishment to those involved in the mob lynching, everything will return to business as usual, somewhat normalising mob violence. The Tharoijam incident has demonstrated that there are not many takers of the Supreme Court’s ruling that ‘mob violence is a crime no matter what the motive is’. It also brought to the fore that Manipur is not immune from such irrational acts of violence, which the perpetrators had been justifying by labelling them as ‘mob justice’. Though the scene is very foggy as far as the topics such as mob trial are concerned in Manipur but one thing that is certain is that anarchic forces cannot be allowed to rule the land. There is a need for a working system to address the discontentment of the people and to control the anarchic forces, only then there will be some order and hence development.

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