Mob Lynching : A social stigma – Dr Leo Cornelio SVD,Archbishop of Bhopal

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People around the world are aware that India is a multilingual, multi-religious and multicultural nation. Every citizen has freedom of thought, faith, religion, worship and expression. One of the most important things is that in the cosmic system of India lies the “rule of law”. It is expected that every citizen should not violate the law and not do any illegal act.

If any person has committed a crime, then the right to punish him is law, not to the general public. No one has the right to take the law into his own hands and punish the culprit himself, it is legally wrong and morally unjust too. Such incidents harm the social integrity of the nation and provide the basis for divisive powers to spread the unrest in the country. Therefore, it is necessary for the government to take strict action to prevent such kind of incidents which is happening around the country.

The psychology of the crowd is a small part of social science; it can be called mob psychology. This is a weird and old way.  The crowd considers themselves to be above all the law and narrate their violent behavior as practical and necessary.  Crowd eliminates the way to resolve issues through the conscience, understanding and ability of negotiation.

In recent times, there have been incidents of mob lynching in many places of our country as well as to the extent that people have been caught and killed by the crowd. In these incidents, the so-called accused are of eating beef, rape convicted or slaughtering the cattle, or guilty of robbing someone else. In Kashmir, a police officer recently killed by a mob without any reason.

Any civilized person will never hesitate to say that killing or violence by the mob is unfair and criminal acts, because the crowd never gives an opportunity to examine, understand or tell the accused their side. Crowds allure each other and all people do violence in illogical ways. Such acts are violation of natural justice, without proper process of law. Fake news surfacing in social media adds fuels to such incidents. So, people need to be aware and cautious about the fake news which entice the people and creates havoc. In one part of the country there was surfacing a news that child thief gang is active in the area.  People got influenced by such viral news and killed many people in isolated incidents without confirming their innocence.  Even if they were culprit, nobody has right to kill anyone.

It is often seen in our country that the crowd is taking the law into its own hands. If we look at the history of the world thousands of years ago, then it will be found that such incidents were at that time more often but whoever the ruler at that time used to take strict measures to stop such incidents. Civil society never encourages such evil tradition. Behind this violence, anxiety and panic can be considered responsible. People in our country go from one state to another to get employment. Most of them are belongs to poor section. It is being seen that the people of the poor community are attacked by the crowd more easily. In the last few days, cases of mob lynching have surfaced in many states. Even the State Government and the Central Government has hard time to tackle the situation.

There have been many incidents of mob lynching in our country in past years. Behind these incidents, Gauraksha, communal or ethnic hatred, rumors of lifting a child etc. were included. These are only figures of 9 states. Most of the incidents of mob lynching have occurred in Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir. At present, if any person is caught while committing an offence, he punished by the crowd instead of handing over to the law authority, nor do they hesitate to take his life, which is utterly inappropriate. Many such incidents are happening in our country in different states, for the different reasons like killing of cow, rape, theft, child lifting etc.. Some anti-social elements are taking law into their own hands, which is a blot on this civilized society which can never be erased. The biggest irony is that in most cases the crowd has taken the lives of innocent people only on the basis of suspicion. Just recently a bullet hit an inspector shot to death in Bulandshahar by the violent mob who went to handle the law and order for the situation. It presents a horrific picture of Indian society. Nowadays, such violence is seen in political protests in the country and is often causing huge damage to the property of the nation. Perhaps this crowd mechanism does not know that it is compensated by the tax we have given to the government. The Central Government has taken it seriously and has also announced to make strict rules, but no social- political team is coming forward to solve this serious problem. The common man of the country is feeling insecurity in his own country due to the increasing cases of mob lynching. In the past, the Supreme Court has taken cognizance of this problem. It is felt that educationist, all the political parties and religious leaders should united by making their opinions and spreading awareness about the ill practice surfacing in our society in order to create a decent society and to prevail  a peace loving society.