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Redefining mob violence

Intolerance, anger, sentiments often drives the human mind to commit serious offenses that are self-justified. A similar offense, when committed by a group of unorganized people denouncing any anti-social or inhuman activities of one or two persons without giving a chance for a fair trial, is often coined as ‘Mob Justice’. But in reality, this is “Mob Violence”.
Arson, assault, lynching, humiliation, destroying of properties, ostracizing and attacking the family members of the person committing anti-social or inhuman activities are the nature of activities committed by the group of unorganized people in the name of dispensing justice.
Mob violence in the name of dispensing justice is becoming very common in India. Countless incidents of mob violence in the name of delivering justice happened across the country and in the state of Manipur. What is interesting is that almost all the nature of violence or action by an unorganized group of people call ‘mob’ in the name delivering justice across the country look alike.
 Vandalizing of hospital or doctors’ residence over the death of patient, humiliation by parading in public or tonsuring of women either for committing adultery or indulging in anti-social activities like using drugs, selling alcohol, ostracizing and destroying of houses of alleged criminals, etc. are common form of mob violence happening in the state of Manipur. The growing phenomenon is worrisome as even accused produced in the courtroom are not spared.
But is the action of the mob justified? Forget about taking the law in hand, the kind of action turns out to be another heinous offense which impacts not only the wrongdoers but also to many innocent lives. 
Many fathers, mothers, brothers, wives, and children become the victim of the mob action as they had to spend a painful life for the crime committed by their son, father, brother or husband. There were instances that minor children were punished by leaving them as an orphan after their parents were lynched to death for a crime they had committed. The fact is that those minor children know nothing about the kind of crime committed by their parents.
There were instances that an innocent had to undergo a painfully and humiliated life after he became a victim of mob violence. Judged and prosecuted by a mob, the person was punished in charge of murdering his own wife who was later found alive having a joyful life with another husband. What is more interesting is that the person was even jailed for the crime that he had never committed.
It may be mentioned that in August 2011, Laishram Chaoba of Tentha Marongband in Thoubal district reported missing of his wife at Thoubal police station. About three days later a dead body of a woman was found at Ithai Barrage. The family and relative of the missing women then charged Laishram Chaoba and his family of murdering their daughter and forcibly cremated in the courtyard of the accused. The accused husband pleaded the hurriedly formed JAC not to cremate the dead body as he protested the dead body as not of his wife. Laishram Chaoba and his father were charged with murdering the lady and later released on bail. After four years Laishram Chaoba found his wife living a new life with another partner at Nongdam Tangkhul Village in Ukhrul district. The case has been carpeted without undergoing any discussion on what would compensate the Laishram Chaoba and his Father.
Mistrust and lack of confidence in the judicial system are perhaps some of the reasons why the public indulges in mob violence. Or maybe, the people are less aware of the existing law.
More or less, Manipur society is slowly heading towards this culture as a direct consequence of the mistrust in the system, mistrust in the law and order, a dysfunctional society where everyone seeks justice, but no one is ready to take the ownership and responsibilities for their actions, where everyone is ready to blame others, but no one wants to listen about their own mistakes and shortcomings.
Saying so, the public cannot be entirely blamed for the upsurge in mob violence. Various crime associated factors like poverty, unemployment in the state are also leading to the upsurge of mob violence. This is perhaps because when people feel insecure because of the crime, and for that matter robbery, they will defend and protect themselves by resorting to violent acts of instant justice.
Moreover, in our society mob violence is considered a deviant behavior but not necessarily a crime.
Critics blamed the law enforcers and the justice delivery system of the country for the kind of fall out. There were times when people had completely lose faith in the law enforcers as well as the justice delivery system and that was one reason for the mob to throng into action instead of waiting for the law enforcers to act.
The rampant mob violence drew serious attention of the government of Manipur. On November 8, 2018, the government of Manipur passed The Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Ordinance 2018. There were several criticisms from various sectors including media houses over the accountability of the ordinance. However, many have been put behind the bar under the ordinance for indulging in mob violence.
Still then the government need more intention no make sure that justice is delivered to all citizens.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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