Vigilantism is when ordinary citizens start taking the law into their own hands. It arises when people are oppressed by criminals; and the law is weak, ineffective or indifferent to the sufferings of the people. The danger with vigilantism is that vigilantes can be directed but never controlled and they become judge, jury and executioner, all rolled into one. Once triggered, vigilantes, with rare exceptions, can only be stopped with deadly force.
Every society frowns upon vigilantism because it grants the right to every individual to define the crime and award whatever penalty, which is usually lynching or arson. he sees fit. Vigilantism starts with legitimate grievances but ends up as instruments for “leaders” to settle private scores.
Nagaland is fertile ground for vigilantism to flourish, for, apart from the minuscule few, who enjoy the benefits of wholesale corruption; every ordinary citizen feels the exploitation and oppression of corruption in one way or the other. The recent past has seen mobs ransack and burn the electrical department’s office at Midland, Dimapur and the breaking in into the Central Jail, also at Dimapur, to lynch a rape accused.
Both instances of mob fury were localised and did not touch everyday issues of people in the rest of Nagaland, so, died down (in the first instance) and was soon controlled, not without the loss of life (in the second instance). The real danger will arise with issues which concern people all over Nagaland.
The recent ultimatum issued by the N.T.U.C.T. (Naga Tribal Union Chumukedima Town) not to allow some 1,200 odd Police recruits to undergo training, is one such issue which concerns people across Nagaland. It is a case of vigilantism, but a thoroughly justified one.
What are ordinary people to do when the very people who owe their positions to the law, break every law in the books, day in and day out? Our ministers and bureaucrats are nobodies without the positions they occupy due to the law. Which law in the world says that once you have achieved a statutory position, you have the right to break any law you want. Everything you are is because of the law, it is your duty to defend the laws which give you your position and status, not break it.
The due process of employment to any governmental agency is to advertise the positions available and the qualifications necessary to fill it. That is the law. The Government of Nagaland had only advertised some 200 odd positions vacant, so, where have these extra 1000 recruits appeared from?
And it is now alleged that 35 Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors have already been appointed, without due process, and are currently undergoing training at the North East Police Academy, Shillong. I intend to file a case with the Lok Ayukta to look into this particular matter.
The fact that I intend to approach the Lok Ayukta in the case of the 35 S.I.s and A.S.I.s does not mean that I disapprove of the intention of the N.T.U.C.T. in the case of the 1000 police recruits. Legislation in our courts are very expensive and often too slow. Vigilantism is the way to go in Nagaland, for the lawmakers have become the lawbreakers and it is the duty of every right thinking citizen to control crime in any manner possible, before the Nagaland Police Force itself, is flooded with criminals.
Kahuto Chishi Sumi
Concerned People of Nagaland
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