March 19, 2019

Governance Versus Vigilantism: Till Cows Come Home


India is not a “DC Comics” universe where Avengers and Caped Crusaders glorify Vigilantism. But lines between politics and celluloid are blurring and overlapping is more commonplace. Caped Crusader in reel life is replaced by Attorney Somnath Bharti who busts drug menace on streets of Delhi .


Bloodbath and vigilantism in Goon’s Own Country by CPIM workers is a daily routine.  Moral policing in Kerala continues unabated but Lutyens Media’s obsession with UP and other NDA ruled states is dangerously skewed in favor of Leftists and Liberals. The NewsMinute reported that in district of Kannur, a gang of four Muslim men, Majeed, Fahad, Muhammad Saha and Sanjid, assaulted a young boy, from Scheduled Tribes community, because he was seen with a Muslim girl. Imagine the hullabaloo, if the incident emanated from UP, Haryana, MP, or Rajasthan. There is hardly any iota of neutrality left in news reporting. This needs to change and counter narrative is building slowly.
Vigilantism in any form is indefensible and should be condemned in harshest terms.


A parliamentarian demands flying business class as his constitution right and gets slipper crazy when he boards a flight which does not have business class seats. Airlines keep him grounded. He fails to fly. His supporters take out protest march in his parliamentary constituency. Isn’t this vigilantism? Lawmakers turn law breakers and take refuge under parliamentary immunity. Shiv Sena has threatened to stall operations at Mumbai International Airport if ban on Gaikwad is not lifted.

Vigilantism has moved beyond Cows, it has intruded democracy. Parties have started questioning the integrity of election process and have challenged authority of Election Commission just because they have bitten the dust in electoral arena. Lawmakers are not above law and they need to abide by the law. Be it following the procedures laid down by the election commission or by airlines.

The disproportionate focus on “Cow Vigilantism” masks other grave issues. Hooligans perpetrating violence in name or cow protectionism can be dealt with heavy hand by local authorities. Arrests have been made and Union Home Minister has assured that justice will be done and wrongdoers will be punished. There is no need to lose sleep over it and bring back the ghosts of Dadri lynching into public discourse. Vigilantism,which has raised its ugly head time and again in other forms,needs to be tackled as well.

How about tackling Journalistic Vigilantism? Anchors and journalists who further propaganda selectively and pander to leftists should be countered with facts. Closure of illegal abattoirs whips up media frenzy but shutdown of more than hundred schools in West Bengal by Didi hardly creates a ripple. Yogi’s directive for teachers to dress modestly in colleges rakes up storm but a Bishop’s diktat on skirts goes unnoticed. Vigilantism has metamorphosed into various heinous forms. We need to move beyond Cows.


A brahmin gets bashed in Chennai. Local media reports the incident but main stream media is stuck on Alwar. Prime time debates and editorials will be dedicated to Alwar and Chennai incident will fade into irrelevance. Tourism figures to Alwar is expected to go high. Political vultures! Alwar is calling.

Picture Credit: Screen shots from Twitter.


About Sharat Chandra 171 Articles
Sharat loves to write about technology, social issues and current affairs with a dash of humour.
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