MOB ‘justice’ continues unabated as offenders seldom face trial in society that seems to have been plagued by a culture of impunity. People are taking the law into their own hands more often than reported. Fifty-one people were, according to Ain O Salish Kendra, killed in mob violence in 2016. Two photographs that New Age published on Saturday and Thursday speak of the cruel scene of mob ‘justice’ in Dhaka streets. The photograph taken on Wednesday shows a teenage boy being beaten by an adult crowd for alleged mugging. In Saturday’s photograph, a mob roughs up a mugging suspect who was captured at Jatrabari in the capital. The photographs are illustrative of the prevailing lawlessness. Petty crimes such as mugging, theft and drug peddling are, on the one hand, on the rise while efforts of the law enforcement agencies to curb crimes, on the other hand, continue to remain superficial. In this context, in the name of justice, aggrieved victims of crimes are often found engaging in mob ‘justice’ which is under no circumstances acceptable. The government should make it loud and clear to the people that mob ‘justice’ is not even an option.
People’s growing distrust of the law enforcement agencies for alleged corruption and discriminatory application of laws are the reasons behind such incidents. Because of the alleged involvement of the law enforcement agencies in street crimes, people are prone to take law into their own hands. In the past, there were a number events in which the involvement of the police in mugging and abduction were reported — particularly in the cases of mugging and abduction near ATM booths. There are also reported incidents of police personnel being arrested for taking part in petty crimes. In 2015, the case of a subinspector and a constable’s involvement in snatching money near a bank in the capital raised a huge cry. In most other cases, personnel of the law enforcement agencies remain indifferent and inactive. A notorious drugging gag is reported to have been on the prowl at Mirpur in the full know of the police, yet the police are reported to have done barely anything to stop the gang. Besides, very rarely, legal cases of such petty crimes roll into conviction as the judiciary is backlogged and such cases are not of high priority. In this situation, all the authorities concerned should devise a comprehensive plan to battle mob violence in the name of justice.
The government, therefore, needs to have a multi-pronged approach to tackle the problems at hand. Without resolving corruption and alleged involvement and inaction of the law enforcement agencies, it is not possible to regain the trust of the public. Justice dispensation system must be equipped with adequate human and other resources for speedy delivery of justice to the victims of street crimes. The government should, however, also give exemplary punishment to instigators of mob violence to discourage and prevent its recurrence.
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