The Butchers of Vijaynagar

The Times of India reports:

In a grotesque incident, three educated sons of a UP Power Corporation engineer, along with a cousin, punched, kicked and beat their mother to death with a rod late on Saturday night believing that she had been possessed by the spirit of a dead relative.

The bizarre violence didn’t end there. The foursome then tried to “sacrifice” a sister-in-law in an attempt to bring their dead mother back to life. They also beat up and injured their sister, her husband, the husband’s father and two sisters, when they tried to intervene. […]

As news of the violence spread, several hundred residents rushed to the police station to get a glimpse of the “butchers of Vijaynagar”. Some agitated residents demanded they be allowed to lynch the culprits.

To me, the worst part of this story is the last line I’ve quoted above. While superstition is rampant in our country, such incidents of madness are thankfully rare. But lynching, on the other hand, has become commonplace, almost a sort of mob entitlement. It demonstrates both a belief that justice will otherwise not be done on those the mob plans to lynch, and confidence that the mob won’t face justice either. That’s a lousy justification, as almost any justification for violence is, but a powerful explanation. And there doesn’t seem to be much hope of improvement.