FOR some time now, the depths of our rage, intolerance and ignorance have translated into mob violence, which has taken lives even of the innocent. Following a recent incident in which a young man was beaten to death and another severely injured by a crowd in Karachi`s Qasba Colony, after the victims were accused of being robbers, police revealed that, in fact, no crime had been committed. Instead, a personal quarrel had turned deadly when the instigators of the violence claimed that the victims were robbers, attracting the attention of the area people. The sad reality is that during incidents such as these, the truth ceases to matter. A number of mob killings have followed a similar trend where men are accused of a crime and lynched at the hands of a murderous crowd, only to be declared innocent later.
This dangerous trend should be a wake-up call for the authorities.
Not only should both the perpetrators and instigators be given exemplary punishment, the government must also reflect on why these incidents are taking place so frequently, and what measures can prevent them. Though nothing can condone such behaviour, it is true that citizens are so fed up with the high levels of street crime that many fly into a rage at the mere mention of a robbery without a second`s thought as to whether the accusation is even true. On the other hand, the state`s failure to curb crime and society`s collective lack of trust in the government`s abilities to effectively police the city have resulted in a situation where such macabre incidents are becoming commonplace. There have also been cases where police officials themselves have been complicit in horrific public lynchings.
This must come to an end. It is the government`s failure that citizens have such little faith in its competence that they do not wait for the law to take its course, and instead, take matters into their own hands. The authorities must act fast, before law and order breaks down completely.