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Indian street justice: A mob isn’t the answer

A recent video of an angry mob pelting stones at a Lamborghini and Ferrari makes one wonder what on earth is going on. There’s the obvious consideration of just how expensive these vehicles are and the damage that may have been. While both vehicles make a quick getaway this could have turned into something more dangerous in less than no time.

Agitating on streets is common in India. Whatever the agenda, it takes little to gather a mob and protest, thereby disrupting processes, and resulting in little or no change. However, the practice of mob agitation continues to be a common resort when bringing an agenda to the fore. Disrupting daily life is an effective manner of causing fear and damage cause no one wants to be caught in the middle of an angry mob. This public outpouring of anger can quite easily turn into a battleground with multiple incidents of mobs setting vehicles on fire having been reported regularly.

As such, it only makes sense to flee a mob. The situation gets tricky when the vehicle in concern happens to be faster and more expensive than regular commuter cars. Instinct would direct one to save life and vehicle, and this in turn could lead to a hit and run situation. Luckily in this instance the stone pelting crowd seems to maintain safe distance and doesn’t actively pursue the cars that have foot on pedal to make a quick getaway at the first opportunity.

For this particular incident it’s been difficult to get any further information as to what caused this attempted vandalism. Road rage and anger on the streets isn’t going away anytime soon. What caused the group to resort to stone pelting is unclear but if there is a reason, however big or small, clearly the people concerned don’t believe they would have gotten justice in any other way. While busy city streets are still trying to figure how to automate manning at signals, endless stretches of Indian roads are altogether unmanned. Seeking justice then becomes a compounded problem for lack of process and witness.

There’s also the prevalent sentiment the rich always get away with offences that are punishable. No surprise then that people may resort to immediate street justice, which for them may be the only justice they may get. For the offender, accused and wronged, the process of justice could rely on processes unrelated to justice.

The police’ failure to track often prompts traffic offenders to overspeed and runaway, and that pretty much is the end of a problem that may have been. This is why a mob trying to catch someone rightaway is that animated, and fuelled with frustration and anger. Street justice is never the solution and sometimes entirely unrelated people with participate. That’s how mobs work and something insignificant or serious can turn into a complex situation. There’s also the possibility of leveraging the fact that those in mobs are unusually unidentified and resultantly difficult to trace. Only a systematic and strict change can instill a sense of right in people.

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