That 14 people survived lynching attempts in five districts while another victim of such mob beating died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Sunday as the scare of child-lifting persisted is a pointer to increasing restiveness in society and the erosion of public faith in law enforcement and legal system over a sustained slide in law and order. The unnamed man who died in hospital was critically injured in Keraniganj on Thursday, as New Age reported on Monday. The others survived as the police and people came forward to their rescue. In a couple of days, at least four people, including a woman, were killed in mob beating in Dhaka and elsewhere as fear of lifting children spread. Mob justice is an affront to the rule of law, which warrants that even the vilest of criminals should be allowed defence in the court of law, and does not permit any individual or any group to play the roles of the judge, juror and executioner all rolled into one.
In recent times, there has been a sharp decline of law and order. From mugging to murder, extortion to abduction and sexual harassment, the incidence of crime has gone up. Despite an apparent failure to arrest the law and order downslide, the law enforcement agencies, instead of stepping up law enforcement, appear to have chosen to remain silent or in denial. They apparently refuse to realise that denial will not make crimes go away and that, amidst sustained law and order downslide, such claims may create the impression in the public mind that the authorities are unable to take on the criminals head on. Moreover, it is a double jeopardy, for the state and its citizens, that the law enforcers entrusted with keeping law and order and busting crimes are increasingly engaged in committing crimes. Politicisation of the law enforcement agencies along partisan lines and brazenly partisan use of the law enforcers have gone on unabated. Under the circumstances, the sustained law and order downslide seems hardly surprising.
If such a freefall of law and order is not arrested immediately, lawlessness will become pervasive in society. What the authorities need to realise is that lynching is a manifestation of erosion of the people’s faith in law enforcement and legal system. People generally take law into their own hands as and when they feel let down by the system. Hence, before the people’s frustration with the upsurge in crime leads to a complete loss of faith in the legal system, the government needs to take decisive and demonstrative actions to arrest the downslide in law and order.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial