Is mob justice justified?

In a country with a population of 1.2 billion people, the bulk of them way below the international poverty line crimes like robbery, rape and murder are ineludible. High crime rates can directly be associated with the sizable proportion of the population being poor and uneducated. Crime always follows poverty. According to a report in Science magazine by Robert J. Sampson “lower class youth commit four times more violent crimes than middle-class youth.” In India with one in four people earning less than 70 rupees a day the most easy answer for the high crime rates is, poor people need stuff they can’t afford so they take it. However this does not justify heinous crimes like rape and murder. Majority of the poor/rural households are haunted by alcoholism which effects the family both socially and economically. A house hold with a single parent is more vulnerable and has less control on their teenage children. The young uneducated mothers are often subjected to violence by their alcoholic husbands leaving the kids neglected. Very often criminal activities by the poor is tolerated and not condemned, among the poor. With the advent of cheap mobile phones and easy access to internet, influence of porn and movies which glorify stalking cannot be ignored.

“Lower class youth commit four times more violent crimes than middle-class youth.”

India has one of the lowest police population ratios in the world with 1 police officer for 720 people while the ideal ratio quoted by UN is 1 officer for 454 people. With reservation system in play and a huge chunk of the reserved 49.5% of the police jobs lying vacant, with no suitable candidates there’s very less hope of improving the police population ratio. On an average 92 women are raped and 88 people are murdered every day according to reports by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). With such high crime rates, it is quite possible that a person may be a victim or a witness to a crime on more than one occasions in his life time. Lust for revenge, frustration over the increasing number of crimes and the wicked feeling to exercise dominance and power over a helpless person are the most common characteristics of the people usually involved in doing mob justice. Mob justice at times might seem right but one should not forget that there are many cases where people were brutally tortured and beaten to death just on suspicion of committing a crime. There have also been cases like the infamous Jasleen Kaur case where an innocent man was falsely accused of molesting the girl and video made by her went viral in no time ruining the man’s life. It was a typical case of virtual mob justice.

In most cases of mob justice, heart does the thinking instead of the brain. The mad adrenaline rush and the urge to get instant justice coupled with corrupt police and slow trial process pushes the mob to take law into their own hands.

Be it Gau rakshaks or Islamic clerics stoning women to death for adultery or mobs killing and raping in the name of religion (In reference to Kashmir genocide) , we need to understand that how much ever right it may feel, mob justice is wrong and should be condemned. A fair trial should be provided and the accused should be punished according to the laws. Recently there have been rise in the number of incidents where the drivers and helpers of trucks trafficking cattle illegally are being beaten to death by cow vigilantes, ignoring an essential fact that it was just a bunch of poor people trying to make their ends meet by an illegal means.  Another recent event where 7 people were lynched to death in Jharkand on mere suspicion of being child lifters show us the extent up to which these insane mobs have become impudent and indomitable. The main power and morale booster of these mobs is us, the common people who often support and justify such acts with lame reasons like slow judicial system, corrupt police force etc., It’s time we realize that things have gone too far and we should start condemning such acts. We should also realize that one day even we ourselves could end up as a helpless victim of an insane mob given their system of no trial or no proofs. The only way to stop this is for the system to take severe action against the people involved and mob justice being made an unbailable offense

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