Moral Policing and Vigilante Groups are Unlawful! These Should Not be Allowed!

0
319
  • The subject matter is bound to evoke strong emotions in those fiercely safeguarding the independence and freedom of choice to lead lives in a democratic country like India. That the Constitution-mandated rights are sacrosanct need not be emphasized over and over again. The Supreme Court is the custodian of the Constitution mandated to interpret the laws enacted without digressing from the tone and tenet. However, the political landscape in the Indian context is too complicated necessitating the intervention of the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters of importance, including unlawful acts. As such, any unlawful Acts, Statutes, policies, and occurrences always reach the doorsteps of the SC for neutral and fair adjudication.

PC: Freepik

  • What’s happening in some of the states deserves the attention of the SC where unlawful moral policing and vigilantism have shown increasing incidents causing disharmony in society. Such incidents often lead to law and order situations as well. Take for instance, what happened in Haryana’s Bhiwani last week. The bodies of two Muslim men were found inside a burnt SUV leading to their families making serious allegations against the police. The families say Haryana police were present when Bajrang Dal members beat the two men up on suspicion of cow smuggling, and cops had also aided in taking the two across the border from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur. Let’s look into what exactly transpired in the instant case.
  • The issue is not whether the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015 stood violated, but what rein police gave to non-state actors to undertake brute vigilante action in the name of this law. One of the accused named in the FIR filed in Rajasthan is not only a prominent face of the Haryana government’s cow protection task force but is also active on social media. Disturbingly, his channels are flush with videos of his team chasing down cow smugglers, crashing into their vehicles, beating them, and brandishing guns, often with anthemic soundtracks. Note the prematureness with which the Nuh SP declared allegations of the victims’ families baseless. This raises doubts about whether a fair investigation was undertaken at all.

PC: Freepik

  • This saga does not stop here. The case has grown more complex with the family of another accused alleging serious assault by the Rajasthan police. Bajrang Dal and VHP are also threatening protests and a mahapanchayat in favour of the accused. Needless to mention, the further politicization of the case on top of the Haryana-Rajasthan political cleavage will muddy police actions even more. Indeed, the police have the blessings and patronage of the political masters. Why else than the accused and his team openly declare that they will beat up anyone doing love jihad too? Mind you, vigilante groups and unlawful policing result in anarchy undermining the state. Governments must act against vigilantism if only for their own interest.