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Now cops can't play mute spectator to mob justice

With eight incidents of mobs lynching suspected criminals reported in the last year alone, police now to initiate suo-moto action against anyone involved in any such act. Stern action will also be taken against cops if they are found to be silent spectators to these ghastly deeds.
 
The next time you decide to flex your muscles and take the law into your own hands and assault or lynch a suspected thief or driver involved in an accident, think twice. According to the latest orders passed by the police, suo-moto action will be instituted against anyone involved in any type of public flogging or assault.


Illustration/ Jishu Dev Malakar

With eight reported incidents of enraged mobs taking the law into their own hands (and several more unreported) in the last year and lynching suspected thieves, the city police have put in a set of plans to bring it to an end.

This new order to initiate suo-moto action has come about following the Chintamani incident of August 2, where a group of 10 people were beaten to death by an angry mob of villagers after they were mistaken for muggers.

Gory entertainment?
"A detailed probe by senior officials revealed that the jurisdictional police neglected the case, despite having knowledge of the incident, which snowballed into a public lynching," ADGP (law and order) R K Dutta said.

Police have now also taken stern action against those officials responsible and suspended them with a pending enquiry. Referring to the incident, Dutta said that a detailed enquiry revealed that the victims hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh were into selling fake gold coins.

"Though they had a criminal background, it does not mean that the villagers should take law into their own hands," Dutta said.

He added that such incidents, which are on the rise, not only show a state of lawlessness, but also police inaction.

As per the latest order issued to all police officers, legal action will be initiated against the public in terms of booking them under various sections of the IPC, if the law is broken.

"Since such incidents are being glorified in the media after being video-graphed and aired by news channels repeatedly, we have asked the police to make the media representative concerned as a witness in the case," he said.

Tale of mob fury in state
>> August 2,  2010 (This case brought about the new order): Residents of Chintamani taluk's Errakote beat up 10 people they suspected might involved in illegal activities. Nine of the victims died on the spot while one died in hospital.

Three persons were beaten to death at Chintamani's Varalahalli village after locals suspected them to be thieves. Four of the nine hail from Andhra Pradesh's Anantpur district.

Thirty-eight persons from the two villages have been detained in connection with the incident.

>> January 2010: A Dalit woman from Lakshmisagar village in Chitradurga district was assaulted and paraded naked in the village for allegedly helping a Dalit man and a higher caste girl.

>> June, 2011: Doctors at the government hospital in Siruguppa were thrashed by an angry mob for allegedly failing to treat a snakebite victim, leading to the girl's death.

>> July 20, 2011: Residents of Padiganahalli attacked local police from Vemagal station after the cops refused to hand over some petty thieves to the mob. During the melee, dozens of cops and mob members were injured. 

>> July 2010: A mob of 50 villagers assaulted a woman after she was seen with another man from a neighbouring village. She was brutally assaulted and her clothes were torn away by the elders of the village, who condemned her act. All this happened while the cops watched from a distance.

>> September 2010: A mob of over 20 villagers attacked a man, who was allegedly having an illicit affair with a neighbour. The cops remained mute spectators claiming that they would have been overpowered by the furious mob if they interfered.

>> September 2010: Nine teachers were seriously injured when a group of villagers attacked them over rumours that they had taught unethical lessons to students at the higher primary school in Ashapur village near Raichur.

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