POST TIME: 23 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 July, 2019 12:22:26 AM
Mob lynching spurred by rumours, superstition

Mob lynching spurred by rumours, superstition

A highly disconcerting trend of late has been mob lynching of people, believed to be child abductors. The beatings resulting in death are happening at a time when a vile rumour that decapitated heads of children will be needed as a sacrificial ritual in the construction of a bridge is being propagated with the aim to create social panic.

The mob, as it is wont to, going berserk when they are catching someone they believe to be a child lifter. In the last two weeks, five persons have been killed and reportedly, of them, four victims were mentally challenged. This is highly distressing and deeply disquieting because public with uncontrollable anger is a sad indictment of a sullied social ethos where intolerance and blind rage trump rational thought and restraint. The mob beatings also underline a growing erosion of trust on law enforcers and the judiciary. The public resort to such actions when they believe that a criminal will only come out on the streets using the loopholes of the legal system and political influence.

Such outbursts of anger is but a consequence of a legal system which has too many flaws. From 2011 till 2019, almost 800 were died due to mob beating with 356 in Dhaka alone. The recent killings also have a link to a sacrifice rumour which shows the presence of superstition even in this day and age. The government must find the source of the rumour and take firm action because this was done in a planned way, over a long period to create a sense of fear among the people. From a sociological angle, mob beatings speak about a simmering anger which millions of people are habouring. This rage is usually unleashed on petty criminals. The violent streak needs to be analysed, understood and addressed because there is every possibility that such behaviour is an expression of public frustration with existing social systems.

To prevent lynching, the police needs to be more open to the public instead of maintaining an ‘us and them’ approach in which the public are wary of interacting with the police comfortably. When association with police is no longer deemed as a ‘headache’, mob beatings will fall. Superstition still plays a role in our lives and this can only be countered when family atmospheres are used to tell children that many of the old beliefs are wrong and morally incorrect. People will stop beating criminals when they start to respect and believe in the police.