Lynching on the rise but solutions in sight, say experts

It has not been even a week since a man in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh was allegedly lynched by the government officials for preventing them from clicking pictures of his wife and daughter who were defecating in open. Now headlines are screaming about another lynching, this time it is Jammu and Kashmir’s deputy superintendent of police, Mohammed Ayub Pandith.

Pandith was lynched by a mob outside Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Old City in Srinagar. It was only on Thursday that another man was lynched by locals for allegedly raping and killing a six-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh. Weeks ago, a father of a one-year-old rape victim chopped off the hands of the 16-year-old accused with a sword at Kotli Ablu village on the Bathinda-Badal road.

And there are several other such cases surfacing every day! The incidents of lynching have become so common that it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it has become an alarming trend in the country.  In most of the cases, it has been seen that the brutal act is basically triggered by frustration and anger. An anger that is so strong that it ends up taking life or leads to a collective action like lynching!

However, the questions that surface here is – whether the lynching of criminals is justified in a civilised society? If no, what sort of mentality triggers such action? And above all, what could be the possible solution to end this disturbing trend?

“There is never any justification to violence. It is triggered by mob mentality. Usually, there is youth behind it as it is easy to instigate them. They are volatile at this age and feel they are doing it for a cause,” says psychologist Ms Bijender Grewal.

Talking about the reason behind the growing trend of lynching, Ms Grewal stressed, “people are losing faith in the system. They are seeing the lack of actions, so they resort to such extreme step. We get to hear such reports only through media, but there are several cases that go unreported. So basically, people are suffering and thus taking law into their own hands.”

When asked about the possible solution, she said, “system has to be quick, fair and powerful then only we can expect change.”

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Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, a Social Activist and founder of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights says, “Lynching is not based on facts; it is a matter of subjectivity.  It is happening not only in India but everywhere in the world. But it is not justified at all. Wherever such extreme steps have been taken, even by the law in rape cases, there has been no reform.”

Talking about the reason, he says, “The main reason behind such practice is the lack of education. If education will be provided, people’s mindset will change; logic will prevail. People should be taught about religions – all religions. Besides, the knowledge of constitution should also be given. Any individual’s root lies in his education. Apart from that, there should be strict law in place.”

Talking about the possible solution he says, “There should be a fair trial, speedy actions, and proper rule of law in place, along with a strong judicial system, fair investigative process and stress on the education system. Only then we can expect a change in next 10 to 15 years.”

He also said that lynching is happening because of collective mindsets of a similar kind of people. They (the mob) don’t want to give criminal the chance to be tried.  “It is, however, not a new practice, and it is done against women since years, take the example of witch practice,” he adds.

Another psychologist Anu Goel feels that it is happening due to teeming emotions. “People have huge dissatisfaction and aggression in their lives today. They are not able to cope up with such overflowing sentiments properly. And such extreme cases could be the result of anger caused by huge dissatisfaction, vented in entirely different way.”

“Too much desire leads to dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction leads to depression. When people aren’t able to vent their anger at home and handle it in their lives, it makes them aggressive. You won’t know, but such feelings don’t die. When an increased desire doesn’t get fulfilled, it makes them mentally unstable. That eventually leads them to take extreme actions,” she adds.

Sociology professor Susan Vishwanathan highlighted another interesting perspective about this practice. “Lynching is a traditional practice. It was the customs and it is still going on. They (mob) find it right to punish the criminal so they do it,” she said.

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