The tendency to supersede the law and make an impulsive move to attain instant justice by beating someone to death on suspicion of a crime has now become dangerously frequent due to the culture of impunity, observed ASM Nasir Uddin Elan, Director of Odhikar.
It is due a largely non-functional criminal justice system that these crimes are on the rise, he added.
The situation was created when punishing the offenders through due process of law had been on the wan for long and the criminals remained unpunished using the loopholes of the law as well as political clout, he explained.
‘A lot of collective anger has accumulated, especially among the common people. At the same time, the country lacks a democratic system, which also led to a lot of frustrations as the people could not elect their representatives through a fair election. Thus people are going astray out of frustration and anger faced with unemployment, burden of tax, threat on their lives and livelihood as well as the overall unsafe environment in the society as a whole, Nasir Uddin said in his attempt to put things in context.
Besides, a section of criminals — whether politically motivated or driven by any other goals — were playing a vital role in public lynching and they are provoking the people to release their anger and frustration on innocent people. This, he considered, amounted to a heinous crime.
I would say that these incidents have been happening for the failure of those who are in power. The liability of failure falls on the government and on the state. You can remember that six students were lynched at Aminbazar under Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, in 2011. Eight years have passed and the trial is yet to be completed.
When people do not get justice, they think that public lynching can be committed without facing any obstacle. Amid this culture of impunity, some of the offenders were using lynching as a weapon against their rivals.
People are aggrieved. Mostly, they do not get justice when they go to the police stations and to the courts. Some criminals are scheming to serve their own ends by exploiting the collative anger of the people.
Public lynching, I would say, is the result of the failure of the system. In Bangladesh, it has been happening against th backdrop of the failure of the state.
A democratic system, accountability of government, good governance at every spheres of social-political life and a strong judiciary that can operate on its own to ensure justice for all can eliminate the anger and frustration, thereby bringing stability to the society. It is in an unstable state that these people are committing such crimes by taking the law in their hands.
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