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Mob Rule: A Disturbing Trend – OpEd

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In recent times, in number of countries, it is seen that some people come out to the streets and conduct protest marches, objecting to one regulation or the other, even when the regulations are implemented by a duly and democratically elected government. In such democratic countries, people have the option to vote out the government in next elections, instead of forcing the government to change the orders by mob strength. But, it appears that the mob want to achieve their objectives by short circuit method  by forcing the government to kneel down.

Those who force the government to act in one way or the other  by organising public demonstrations are not representative gathering of the people. In almost all cases, these protestors constitute microscopic minority and large section of people do not approve or participate in such demonstrations.

In a country with population of several millions of people, a few thousands can organise such protests and try to give an impression that they represent people’s cause, which is not really so.

Mob Protest in USA

Before the recent Presidential election in USA, several protests were organized in different cities in USA in the name of protecting the dignity of the people of color and avoiding oppression.

It is true that a few minorities died in police shootings but they were guilty of some acts of violence and attacking the police. The protests by the so called activists in USA gained enormous international publicity and brought bad name to USA and Trump administration. After the completion of election, no one is now talking about the so called oppression in USA. This gives suspicion that such protests were organised by some group with vested interests.

Mob protest in Europe

In several countries in Europe, mob protests were organized to agitate against the regulations imposed by the governments about wearing the masks and social distancing to prevent spreading of COVID 19. Again, a fraction of population only participated  n such protests and such demonstration got undue publicity in the media, as if such demonstrations were popular movements, which is not so.

Other protests

Similar incidents of mob protests are seen in several countries, particularly those where sort of democratic processes are prevalent. 

India is no exception to this mob rule scenario.  Not a day passes in India when public demonstrations, blocking of the road and even stoning public properties by protestors take place, which are mostly organized and supported by some political groups, motivated activists, religious extremists and even indirectly supported by foreign governments.

India is a democratic country where people seem to have poor understanding about the concept of liberty and freedom for individuals, without realizing that  liberty and freedom for individuals cannot be a personal affair but a social contract and adjustments of interests.

It appears that it is no more difficult in India today to organize a few thousands of people to participate in such demonstrations by brain washing them or even by enticing them with bribe and  money.

The most recent and ongoing protest  in India is by the farmers, mostly belonging to Punjab state, opposing the recently enacted Farm  Legislation, which is claimed by the government to be in the interest of farmers and to stop exploitation of the farmers by middle men and traders. The protests are actively and openly supported by a few political parties and even by suspected vested interests.

The government of India has shown extreme level of  patience  in facing the protests by the farmers and has been repeatedly inviting them for talks,  so that government can explain the logic of it’s decision on Farm  Legislation  and the protesting farmers too can state their views, so that a solution can be arrived at in a civilized manner. But, the farmers are not listening and still they are blocking the roads and preventing movement of goods and people , causing inconvenience to millions of  country men. In other words, a few thousands of farmers are able to cause hardships to millions of people and causing loss of several millions of rupees to the exchequer, by forcing the business to stop activity, in the name of organizing protest.

As a matter of fact, while there are millions of farmers in India, only section of farmers in Punjab state and small group of farmers from nearby states are organizing the protest, though they constitute a microscopic minority, amongst the millions of farmers all over India.

While section of farmers are protesting, the print and visual media repeatedly say that tens of thousands of farmers are participating, which is not true. Actually, the protest is confined largely to only one state. Media publish the photographs of the protestors as if the entire country is protesting. A skillful photographer can make a tree look like a forest!

Many people think that the traders and middle men organize this demonstration in the name of farmers’ protest, as middle men will not be able to carry on trading activity in the same way as they have been doing in the past, after the implementation of the Farm  Legislation. Many people think that section of farmers are protecting the interests of the middle men at their own cost.

What is even more shocking is that the agitating farmers say that they will  block the roads as a form of protest even for as long as six months.  Does it mean that these farmers would not work for six months in the fields? Are  they so affluent to sit on the streets for six months without earning income? Are  some vested interests feeding them?

Such mob protests by microscopic minority of people has the adverse impact of making the rule of law a laughing stock,

This is a very bad trend that should be firmly resisted by the government, which has the duty to protect overall interests of the country and security of the law abiding citizens, who are very large in number, compared to the microscopic minority of the protestors.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “Mob Rule: A Disturbing Trend – OpEd

  • December 3, 2020 at 6:55 am
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    I fully endorse your views. Violent protests and brazen denial of other peoples’ freedom by forceful, violent means like stopping trains, blocking roads etc – rather the right to deny another man’s freedom destroys the very concept of democracy and democratic freedom. Unfortunately world over and particularly so, the right to deprive the other man of his freedom seems to have been taken for granted as a fundamental right – as the hallmark of a free society. Unfortunately, I pressume that the situation will continue till such time the vast silent majority who suffers realise the fact and act to effectively demonstrate that they have a mind and will judiciously excercise their right to register their protest through appropriate action and through ballot boxes, this distortion will continue. Panicker

    Reply

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