By M.K. Ashoka
Bengaluru, Nov 6 (SocialNews.XYZ) Karnataka is witnessing an unprecedented rise in incidents of vigilante action. The hijab crisis, boycott of Muslim traders, the protest against the High Court order upholding the hijab ban, a series of murders of Hindu activists and revenge killing of Muslim youths have shaken the conscience of the state's people and left an impact on their psyche.
However, experts hold the ruling BJP responsible for the increase in incidents of vigilante justice in the state, contending that the trend stems from the failure of the law and order agencies, and political immorality, corruption, and insensitiveness.
With Assembly elections around the corner, the ruling BJP has set out to pursue aggressive Hindutva and Congress going in the opposite direction, the situation seems set to worsen.
Talking to IANS, leading educationist and writer, Professor Radha Krishna said that the very term (vigilante justice) should have no place in our social framework.
"It denotes the punishment given by the so-called aggrieved, either individually or collectively, to another individual or a collective group without bothering to adhere to the legal framework.
"Simply, it is an eye for an eye theory. We should remember Mahatma Gandhi said that this approach will make the entire World blind!"
Recent times have also witnessed an increase in the name of caste-related "honour" killings, and religion-related, food-triggered violence like cow slaughter, he said.
Unfortunately, though not planned, politicians who would like to capture power by hook or crook, mostly by crook, even if it is means dividing the society, he said.
Noting that it is true that the so-called barbarian, and brutal violent acts are due to the failure of law enforcing agencies, or political games to make it fail, he stressed that maintaining law and order is the 'dharma' of governments preached by all religions, more so by Hinduism.
"If somebody rapes a woman, should we go and rape the woman folk of the family of the rapist and become super rapists? Can murder be avenged by murdering of the murderer? It would convert a civilized society into a barbarian society.
"It is true that when atrocious and criminal behaviour takes place, we become emotionally disturbed, more so when the law enforcement looks the other way," Professor Radha Krishna added.
"Real vigilante justice would mean eternal vigilance to seek justice in a democratic way," he said, adding that farmers of Punjab had recently shown that the mighty government led by a mighty leader had to surrender to their peaceful Gandhian fight.
"Mankind has struggled for centuries to get itself evolved to become a civilised, mutually respecting society. Ultimately the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi based on truth and non-violence is the real vigilante justice!
"But unfortunately, the political class seems to be thinking otherwise," he rued.
Suryamukundraj L., General Secretary of Karnataka Congress's Legal Cell, said that the law ensures justice and an entire system is established to give punishment. "If private parties are to give justice, what is the necessity for law, advocacy, and policing?" he asked.
"The Constitution has given freedom of expression and religion. Others' rights can't be encroached upon. The trend is mass lynching where people are being killed. This is very disturbing. In Udupi district of Karnataka, two cloth merchants were beaten up. There is cow vigilantism," he said.
Referring to the pub attack case in Mangaluru in 2009, Suryamukundraj asked what right does an organisation have to say how should young women behave? "The people who run the show are Hindu activists, all this has been done for political reasons. No one is bothered to look into the problems farmers are facing due to anti-cow slaughter laws."
Blaming the BJP government for supporting the incidents of vigilante justice, he said that Police should discharge duties impartially. "Protest against McDonald's in Bengaluru, insisting on boycott of halal meat shows it is a disturbing trend where individuals are becoming Gestapo like in Nazi Germany," he said, claiming that police are not working as per the police manual or the Indian Penal Code but "are compelled to work for the agenda".
BJP OBC Wing's state Secretary Jayadev N. asserted that there is no scope for anyone to carry out moral policing or vigilante justice in the state.
"The government is in charge of the state. The government is taking care of responsibility of all citizens in the society," he said.
Asked about allegations of moral policing and vigilante justice, he dismissed these as allegations of opposition parties.