Monday, May 29, 2017

Mukul Kesavan - Lynch mob republic // Jharkhand lynching: NHRC asks DGP to file report within 4 weeks

These three years have seen the State fuse with the street to create a vigilante nation. If India's first national movement was a mobilization against foreign rulers, the new nationalism, the principal style of which is vigilantism, is directed at the enemy within. 'Vigilantism' used in this way needs an explanation. Vigilantes are ordinarily defined as people who take the law into their own hands. For example, Amitabh Bachchan (with the aid of Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra) dominated the box office in the Seventies and Eighties as the vigilante hero who tried to set an irredeemably corrupt world to rights. Films like Zanjeer, Deewaar and Coolie defined a new genre in Hindi cinema.

Plain vanilla vigilantism of the Bachchan sort is different from vigilante nationalism in two ways. First, it's a form of individual heroism whereas contemporary Indian vigilantism is organized and collective. Secondly, the filmi vigilante is at odds with the 'system' and the corrupt State that underwrites it. The modern Indian vigilante, on the other hand, is in a patron-client partnership with the State; this is not an adversarial relationship.  Modern vigilantes bend the system to their will and take the law into their hands with the tacit or explicit blessing of the State and in the name of the virtuous Nation. This is a Nation that is insufficiently realized because its coming into being has been thwarted by a false nationalism and a corruptly administered republic. The new vigilante is insurgent in this thwarted Nation's cause.

Even under Narendra Modi's new management the routines of the State and its institutions - courts, bureaucracies, uniformed services - aren't sufficiently responsive to the cause of the Nation. They need to be aided by organized citizen auxiliaries and revitalized by the spirit of vigilante nationalism which is simply an expression of the popular will, unmuffled by bureaucratic flannel. Since we're talking about State-vigilante coordination, it's important in this context to distinguish vigilante nationalism from vigilante counter-insurgency. Vigilantes of the sort who belong to militias like Salwa Judum or Sulfa or the Ikhwan force are renegade mercenaries. They are creatures of the State who serve a counter-insurgency purpose. Vigilante nationalists, on the other hand, are the soulmates of an ideological party, bound to it by a common purpose: the forging of a Hindu nation.

Yogi Adityanath's provincial government is the first fruit of this fusion of the State and the street. Adityanath is best understood as Uttar Pradesh's Chief Vigilante. His democratic mandate legitimizes his private vigilante militia, the Hindu Yuva Vahini. The anti-Romeo squads who police Hindu-Muslim romance, the cow goondas who patrol UP's highways attacking cattle transporters and butchers are examples of the state government of India's most populous province informally sub-contracting out law enforcement functions to avowedly Hindu militias. The political patrons of these vigilante nationalists sometimes prioritize the galvanizing of the nationalist street over the maintenance of law and order. There have been a series of beatings and lynchings in states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party which have resulted in Muslims at the receiving end being booked and their assailants defended by BJP office bearers, ministers and chief ministers. Undeterred by the violence, BJP state governments have made the cattle trade conditional on so much paperwork that they have effectively laid the groundwork for protection rackets run by vigilante militias…

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the director general of police in Jharkhand to file a report within four weeks into the alleged lynching of few men, who were suspected to be child-lifters.
Issuing a notice to the DGP, the commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the case based on a media report, and observed that its content is "unpleasant".  "A civilised society cannot allow such heinous crimes to occur where human lives are taken by angry mob merely on suspicion of them being anti-social elements," the human rights watchdog said in a strongly-worded statement released on Monday.

"The incidents amount to violation of right to life of the innocent victims targeted by the perpetrators. The law enforcing agencies of the state have certainly failed to perform their lawful duty," it said. 
According to the media report, "seven persons were lynched" by a mob in Jharkhand suspecting them to be child kidnappers, the commission said, expressing serious concern over the incidents.
Out of the seven persons, four were killed in the Seraikela Kharsawan district and three in Nagadih area of East Singhbhum district, it said, quoting from the report. "The Commission also expects comments on the preventive measure taken/proposed to be taken to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur," the NHRC added.

See also
Amit Shah and the Toxic Consequences of ‘Clean Chit’ Jurisprudence by Indira Jaising // Yogi Adityanath decides not to sanction the prosecution of Yogi Adityanath
Ajmer blast case: Two including a former RSS worker get life imprisonment
A letter to Jaitley: Why do students get jailed but RSS leaders who issue vile threats walk freely?