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    OpinionsMob violence emerging as a regular phenomenon in Bengal

    Mob violence emerging as a regular phenomenon in Bengal


    By Tirthankar Mitra

    Known for their courtesy and , Bengali bhadralok is at a loss to comprehend the causes of the mob violence visiting West Bengal of late. The reasons behind the passersby seeing red and turning into a mob  are   yet  to   be   fully understood..

    Rumour of a theft or stealing a mobile often triggered the violence. Be it a kangaroo court verdict which laid down beating a couple for their live together relation or a mother and son being thrashed together in front of their house, collective violence seems to be on the rise in the state.

    Since the late ‘60s and a major period of the ‘70s, violence has been a part and parcel of Bengal . It did not quite go away in the Left Front regime, but mob violence has never been the order of the day.

    But reverting to the recent months one finds, four people were killed and 10 severely injured in 13 incidents within one fortnight in June. This is a shocking count.

    But it is insufficient to stop the in spite of the attention it is drawing. With the   the Trinamool  Congress  being headed by Mamata Banerjee who never makes any secret of her government  being woman friendly, the dispensation is in the cross hairs as several victims of the collective cruelty being women.

    Matters seem to have worsened as one functionary or the other of the ruling dispensation of the state appears to be the alleged perpetrator of the violence. It indeed does no good to the reputation of Didi or elder sister as the TMC supremo is popularly known and addressed all over West Bengal.

    Given the frequency of the incidents, the police administration seems to be clueless  till the   happening of the incidents. The leadership of the TMC seems to have been divided with party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh condemning an incident in no uncertain terms while party legislator Hamidul Islam finding nothing wrong in the same incident where  neighbors took  to task a couple in a live-in relationship at Chopra in North Dinajpur.

    So far, the mob violence cases have been mostly concentrated in five districts in south Bengal including Burdwan and Midnapur. But it is in no way a rural area phenomenon with some gruesome incidents occurring in or close to Kolkata.

    Setting aside the urban-rural divide, it emerges that the perpetrators are not shy of openly defying the law.  One wonders, how come these individuals are secure in the knowledge that they will get away with anything?

    So far, police action has been anything but swift. The men in uniform need to be on their toes and if they choose not to go about their job with  alacrity, it  is up to the government to pull them up.

    The ruthlessness of the perpetrators of violence has been remarkable. Tied to a tree, a youth died after being beaten all night.  In some cases, the police had to rescue the victims. The government has initiated an awareness campaign.

    The police have been instructed to be vigilant. The men in uniform should be prompt on two counts namely prevention of an incident and arrest. Over 50 persons have been arrested in June. A responsive public reporting a developing situation of violence will significantly bring down these incidents which are  blots to the state's image.

    A cold shiver goes down the spine at the cruelty and hatred manifested in mob violence. It can hardly be explained merely by the urge to take law into one's own hands. For the grievance is hardly genuine. It is based on rumors and hearsay against a weaker individual be it a woman, a woman with a child or disabled persons.

    A message has to be sent across that being a judge, jury and executioner is not the right way to address even a genuine unjust act. A clutch of strict and essentially unfailing penalties are called for to be permanent deterrents to mob violence.

    But penal measures alone cannot change social aggression. One has to delve deep in people's mind to trace the root of the provocations that turn men into beasts.

    (IPA Service)

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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