Mob lynching is nothing short of an epidemic that is fast spreading through this country. In an unfortunate incident, yet again, two persons were lynched by villagers near Dhupguri of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal early on Sunday. They were suspected to be cow thieves. The victims hailed from Assam and Coochbehar district in West Bengal. This is dreadfully reminiscent of a very similar event of June this year when three Muslim youths were lynched in Chopra in North Dinajpur. The victims were traveling in a pickup van through the village at night. The van had seven cows in it and somehow lost its way and kept perambulating in the area. Hearing the noise of the van, the villagers tried to stop it, but the vehicle sped off. When locals blocked the road and forced the van to stop, two of the passengers were caught by villagers while the driver of the van managed to flee. After Hafizul Sheikh of Dhubri in Assam and Anwar Hussain of Patlahawa in Coochbehar were questioned by the villagers, they met with their fate. It remains unconfirmed whether the victims were thieves of traders who purchased the cattle.
While this incident awaits explanation, we, as a nation, have witnessed numerous cruelties perpetrated by mobs that have resulted in deaths of people. The basis of most such violence is nothing but suspicion. This leaves one obvious question that must be asked repeatedly: Despite the events of such cases across the length and breadth of the country, which is to say that despite there having been plenty of examples to guide any method of curbing these incidents, there have been no results at all. In fact, there have been hardly any efforts made in this direction. Mob violence is a regular event, as most commonly witnessed in the name of the cow. In most cases, either the local administration is woefully undermanned or unwilling to stop such instances of vigilante violence. All of this inevitably amounts to institutionalised violence but the sad part is that despite all the repeated warning signs, this matter of vigilantism and vandalism have not been dealt with effectively and conclusively. This atmosphere of fear among the people of violent, unruly mobs has begun to be associated with India even internationally. That the cow is very dear to Indians more than their compatriots would be believable only if the cow was allowed to be in any respectable state. Clearly, the cow is only a pretext for mobs venting out their frenzy, and this calls for prompt action, not analysis.