Of late several videos have emerged on the social media which should make us all collectively hang our heads in shame. Instead of moving towards modernisation, refinement of thought process and growth of society, we seem to be sliding back to the medieval period and mob justice appears to be the new normal.
One of these videos, which was also widely telecast by the electronic media, shows a young MLA use a lathi to beat up a government official who had gone to a particular site for demolition of illegal structures. The mob accompanying him supported and encouraged him. The brash MLA, son of the powerful Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, was subsequently arrested for obstructing government officials from discharging their duties and was bailed out after a couple of days.
Shockingly the first time MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, was given a hero’s welcome by his supporters when he stepped out of the jail. He was hailed as a messiah and ‘pride’ of Indore, the city he represents in the state assembly. He made no public statement to regret his action. He in fact said he had no regrets but added that in future he would take up Mahatama Gandhi’s path, presumably of non-violence.
Even top leadership of the BJP remained mum because the MLA’s father has done great service to the party in West Bengal as General Secretary incharge of that state. He did not utter a single word and appeared to be defending his son’s indefensible action.
To The credit of prime minister Narendra Modi, he criticised the incident several days later and said such action could not be tolerated. While action against him and his supporters is awaited, it is time for senior leaders to act with alacrity and take swift action so that such behaviour is nipped in the bud.
But while this video clip was shocking, some other video clips doing the rounds of social media show incidents which was nothing short of being barbaric.
In one such clip, a group of local leaders are seen attacking government officials, and a woman employee at that, with sticks. She was in uniform and was perhaps a forest department employee. Trying to save herself from the mob, she climbs atop a tractor but is hit there in full public view. Later she was taken to the hospital where a hairline fracture was detected on her wrist. No one knows what happened to the attackers or which was the place where the attack took place. Mainstream media often fails in its duty of following up such issues.
Then there is another video clip doing the rounds which is even further debased. It shows a group of men armed with lathis attacking a young girl who might be in her late teens. Nearly a dozen ‘men’ rain lathis blows on her, lifting her as she tries to save herself and virtually disrobing her. One can just cry at the gross inhumanity of the goons who could beat the girl so mercilessly. And we had other ‘men’ who instead of intervening and saving her, were busy filming the entire episode.
Yet it is because of their filming the incident that others could learn about the barbaric incident. One is left wondering how could such men turn so cruel and become a blot in the name of human beings.
The video is again undated and it is not clear where it was shot. The least the government can do is to track down the videos with the help of the social media companies as it had ordered in cases of attacks on government and its leaders. There are provisions under which these companies can be asked to track the source of the videos and messages.
But as a society we need to feel ashamed and think about the causes and reasons for such heinous attacks. It is not that such attacks had not been taking place in the past but that doesn’t justify attacks in an era where we talk of equal rights and where we aspire to go to the moon and beyond. Our leaders, both political and social, must come forward and take up these issues in right earnest.
(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)
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