TODAY -

Mob Justice and Manipur

Mubasir Raji *

Angry mob ransacking the house of Niranjan who allegedly beat his wife to death on November 26 2011
Angry mob ransacking the house of Niranjan who allegedly beat his wife to death on November 26 2011 :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao



Recent news reports about a woman who had been declared killed by her husband and how she was found alive married to another man brings home many points to ponder. It may be recalled, the former husband was not only declared a killer but his house was reportedly razed to the ground by a mob accusing him of homicide.

The sequence of event as given in the news has once again reiterated the fact that "illogical and gruesome" can action of "the mob" dispenses instant justice.

Imagine the pang and humiliation the former husband had to undergo when was charged with the killing of his own wife. It was also reported that that the body of an unknown and unidentified woman had been cremated instead of the supposedly "killed wife".

In Manipur, mob justice is a common phenomenon. 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 justice in their own ways.

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 premise 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.

Mob trials can often take an unexpected turn. There is little room for logic here. As soon as some rumors spreads, the mob will try to bring justice to whatever the matter is on the spot itself.

Two men fighting in the street can turn into a free for all fight; that is called mob-psychology. Animal nature of man runs antagonistic to the spirit of civilization and democracy.

As already stated, in the present situation mob violence is a common thing in Manipur. So what does all these prevailing mob violence and anarchic activities suggested? Does it suggest a defect in our system?

Is it suggesting a trust deficit between public and the delivery system? Or perhaps even to deliver at all?

If one looks at the number of pending cases in the lower and higher courts of India; the signs are not every encouraging. It is no secret that most of the cases that are pending will not get a settlement in our life time. In short most of the victims will not get justice and many of the culprits will walk scot free. Public knows it and that is one reason why they want to get the justice themselves.

Criminal Justice system has become an overburdened truck and most of its load will fall way behind before reaching the destination. All these dissatisfaction, frustration and built-up anger get themselves expressed in the form of mob violence, which is very anarchic and may demolish many things in the rush of anger.

If we look at the executive system, here again it is not a smooth ride. The delivery system is still slow and not without unsuspecting practices. Some of the unsuspecting practices of recent times are 2G scams, Adarsh scams, coal block allocation scams to mention a few.

Investigations are going on for many of the scams; many high level committees have been set up to investigate all these scams. And those are only for malpractices which have been come to the light of public but majority of malpractices get unnoticed and hence there is no room for investigation.

Even in Manipur there are many cases which have been pending, there are many developmental projects which are running overtime. In fact it has become a common thing for developmental projects to get delayed.

The scene is very foggy as far as the topics such as mob trial are concerned in India and Manipur in particular but one thing is certain, anarchic forces cannot be allowed to rule a 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.


* Mubasir Raji wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on April 30, 2015.


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