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Lynching of criminals: Looks pleasing at the first sight; but why it is bad?
In February 2014, women of a village in Andhra Pradesh lynched two auto drivers who were caught in an attempt to rape. The video of public lynching was uploaded on You Tube. From there it reached to social networking platforms like Facebook etc. On FB itself the video was shared by one lakh people. The act of the public lynching of the alleged molesters was supported as well as opposed also.

There had been too much of talks about fast tracking of rape cases, reducing the juvenile age in gruesome cases like rape, increasing police force especially the number of women. However, the ground realities remain unchanged even after horrific rape cases as of Delhi's Nirbhaya, Kolkatta's Park Street rape, Banglore student rape, Mumbai's Shakti Mill rape.

While preventing rape as crime, which mostly happens under confinement, is a challenging task for the police. A lack of faster and stricter punishment regime that can discourage the future criminals is a complete failure of the administrators.

In this background, if the women in Andhra Pradesh took the laws in their hands and punished the alleged molesters on their own, many would justify their act. However, there were many voices also against this act of public lynching. The argument behind the opposition was that the act public lynching is as unlawful and cruel as the rape itself.

It is not that only rapists or molesters are lynched by the public if they are caught. There had been many incidents in which public has lynched burglars, pickpocketeers to death if they were caught red-handed.

Here a important question surfaces. In a civilized society, do the acts of public lynching, where citizens take up justice in their own hands open up Pandora's box?

Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover says that only courts can punish criminals. She says that if a group of people take laws in their hands then it is murder.

"Law is same for all. Public is no one to decide that either a person is guilty or not. His involvement in a certain act can be confirmed by the court only. And only after court hearings the allegations are confirmed. Until the court declare someone as culprit, he/she is innocent in the eyes of the court. And if public dare to kill an innocent man then murder charge will be applicable on the group. Law doesn't change even if public decide to take laws in their hands. The law believes in equality and lynching someone publicly is murder," says grover.

Virag Dhulia, a Men's Rights Activist, while condemning the acts of public lynching says that crime cannot be controlled via crime.

"First thing is, I condemn public lynching as it is barbaric method of punishment. Generally, public lynching is overflow of public emotions as when there is overflow of emotions then there is no proper judgment. Without judging things one gives punishment. And the second thing which I have seen is that men are always victimized to public lynching. There is no women public lynching but yes men's public lynching exists. If one really support public lynching then subject both men and women to that otherwise don't subject anyone to it. Such barbaric act of punishing won't redeem the increasing rate of crime in society. And I feel it is also a crime. One cannot stop crime by doing a crime,"

However, Mamta Sharma, Chairperson, National Commission for Women while supporting the act of public lynching calls it's a good way to punish criminals.

"See, at least society is well aware about the things, at least public supports victim. And public lynching happens because official procedure (police) takes a lot of time to punish such culprits. So, it all depends on the public awareness. In many cases, people start beating an accuse in public premises only to teach him a lesson and I find it a good way to punishing. I do agree with this that at least they dare to support and protect victim at right time. Police will do their duty later on but at least public is raising voice against a crime by supporting a victim," said Mamta Sharma.

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