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Taliban-style 'justice' on the rise in Orissa

Last updated: 15 September, 2009
S T Beuria

The phenomena of common people taking law into their own hands and publicly punishing those they thought are guilty of a crime is no more confined to any particular state.

Map of OrissaThe virus seems to be spreading fast to states across the country. This is clearly evident from four recent incidents in different parts of Orissa. The authorities should treat this type of incidents as a wake up call and initiate adequate steps to control the phenomena before it is too late.

A few days back in a village in tribal dominated Sundergarh district, the villagers caught two youths whom they thought were responsible for repeated cases of thefts in the village. The youths were tied up to a big tree and whoever passed that way,  did not forget to deliver a punch or two at them.

Even the children of the village were seen throwing kicks at the two helpless youths. It continued for hours till a police team reached the sport and rescued both the injured youths in critical condition.


In another similar incident in a village in coastal Kendrpara district, a ‘thief’ was brutally beaten to death by the local villagers after he was allegedly ‘caught red handed’ by some villagers while entering into a house for stealing purpose.

Like the incident in Sundergarh, in this coastal village too the alleged culprit was handcuffed and tied to a pole in the middle of the village before he was brutally killed publicly in true Taliban style.

In yet another incident, the people in a village near Banki in coastal Cuttack district chased two youths and lynched them to death after a 10-year-old boy was found brutally murdered. The villagers held the youths responsible for the killing of the minor boy as the boy was last seen with both the youths before his dead body was recovered from a spot near the village pond.

However, the most bizarre of the four incidents recently took place at a village not far away from the state capital Bhubaneswar. Two girl student of the local college was on their way to attend their classes when two eve-teasers reportedly misbehaved with them.

When the girls revealed the matter to their friends in the college, the students launched an agitation and boycotted the classes. The worried college authorities then sent some students to bring the two eve-teasers to the college.

Once inside the college campus, the faces of the two eve-teasers were painted with black colour. Then both of them were garlanded with shoes. All this went on in front of the college principal as well as other teaching staff. Neither the college authorities nor the students thought it right to hand over the two eve-teasers to the police.

Many are of the view that people get encouraged to take law into their own hands as the police hardly take any action and often go soft against these law breakers. It is interesting to note here that, the police had arrested eight villagers in connection with the double murder incident near Banki in Cuttack district. However, they were released just a day after their arrest when a group of women from the village held a protest demonstration in front of the police station.

The police, on the other hand, blame the politicians. “In such incidents where large number of people are involved, politicians usually intervene and put pressure on the police to go soft fearing mass agitation which may ultimately affect their vote-bank”, said a senior police official who did not want to be quoted.

Some people argue that common citizens are increasingly taking law into their own hands because of the inordinate delay in the justice delivery system. But this is not a valid argument. The country would be thrown into total anarchy if people are allowed to become judges themselves and start delivering justice on the streets.

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