By Mayank Jain:
The lines of justice and crime are fast blurring in the national capital of the countryÂ andÂ there is enough evidence to prove the same. People have taken up crimes to meddle with their own sense of ‘justice’. Suddenly, the society as a whole isÂ justifying actions which end up doing more harmÂ than correcting any wrongs in the first place.
ThisÂ recent YouTube video shows Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk metro station filled with people showcasing the naked face of a mob lynching culture that we have ended up cultivating. The victims of the reckless beating in this case were three black men who were allegedly “misbehaving with women”. That was it and the video shows how people in theÂ crowd took the matter in their own hands to teach them a lesson and started beating them up with fists, sticks, chairs and whatever they could find. The highlight? They can be heard shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, as if the act was something we could boast about in the shiny ‘Incredible India’ billboards!
Mob Lynching: Incredible India, Indeed
The unfortunate incidence has once again brought us back to the uncomfortable starting point where we need to rethink our stand on issues. It’s time to demarcate what counts as standing up for women and what counts as blatant racism. The case in point is one with probable racial undertones as the men denied passing ‘lewd comments’Â and the women haven’t filed any complaint yet. The video shows them trying toÂ seek shelter inÂ the police post. They were looking for some protection from the angry crowds, but to no avail. Police personnel were clearly left helpless in the aggression of the mob. The men areÂ seenÂ climbing up on the roof of the post to escape the sticks. However, some people managed to pull them down, just so that they could beat them up easily.
WhyÂ weren’tÂ we Standing up for Women Earlier?
Another question that needs answering is our stand on violence against women. Are we standing up for women by beating up ‘alleged’ culprits in broad daylight? Suddenly, we seem to be going the Somnath Bharti way by becoming perpetrators first, while dealing with alleged crime.
There have been scores of movements against women harassment in public places but rarely do we see people come up with such fervour to protest and demand policy level changes. Give us a chance to beat people up without any authority and subsequent responsibility, and we will pounce on the culprit and end up making him the victim of our inherent bias and racism.
Inherently Racist: Can we do anything Beyond our First Instincts?
Indians have proven to be the most racist people in the world by studies one after the other. There have been cases of racism both against people from other parts of the world and also against our very own people. Our behavioural biases come to the fore in such instances. We end up discriminating against people from North-east India to the point of beating them up like in Nido Tania’s case. In other cases, we see instances where we deny our properties and spaces for people from ‘other’ countries.
The case has once again opened up questions that we will be ashamed to answer on racism and how we respond to offenses. Though the unfortunate scar of veiling racism as ‘activism’ won’t be washed off in the near future.