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Vandalism by any name abominable 

Vigilantism has definitely played a part and the contribution of saffron brigade in this cannot be overlooked.

It is a matter of deep concern that religions, which are supposed to make their followers pious and God-fearing, are not only failing to achieve the objective, but rather making the followers behave like beasts.

And when they are in a group, they become frenzied mobs, taking the law into their hands. We have seen this happen in several lynching incidents, which have unfortunately become almost a routine occurrence. And it was the same frenzy that was on show over the past couple of days in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, when Kanwariyas went on the rampage, attacking everything that came their way.

Public life in Delhi and NCR were severely affected when the yatris moving along the arterial roads blocked traffic in several areas, forcing vehicular movement to come to a halt. A group of them vandalised a car in Delhi’s Moti Nagar area because it brushed past them in the jam, smashed the window shields and tipped it over, with a couple occupying it barely managing to escape. And all this while police watched like spectators. A video of Kanwariyas attacking a police vehicle in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahar district has gone viral. It was a brawl between two people erupting into mob violence as hundreds of them attacked the vehicle with sticks and bricks. If this is their idea of pilgrimage and penance, not even God can give them deliverance.

This is not about any particular religion, although most of the incidents involve the saffron elements. It is perhaps a sign of the times that we live in. The soft approach of the BJP governments has not helped, although it may not be entirely due to that. But there is no denying that during the past four years, the frequency of such incidents has increased like never before, lending credence to criticism by the Opposition parties. Perhaps, it is more due to the growing intolerance that is afflicting the society to the point of it becoming a most abhorrent culture. Vigilantism has definitely played a part and the contribution of saffron brigade in this cannot be overlooked.

Be that as it may, vandalism and mob violence at the end of the day are issues of law and order and must be treated as such. These incidents occur because there is a clear failure on the part of the administration. The Supreme Court has already expressed itself on similar lines and pinned down the responsibility on those who are in charge of maintaining order. In fact, the court has ordered that nodal officers be appointed for every designated area and that such officials be held responsible for any violations. This would, by all means, be the best response to the problem, which has been threatening to spiral out of control.

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