Bihar is again witnessing a different kind of lawlessness -- street justice. In the last few days, more than half a dozen people have been beaten to death by angry mobs for minor reasons.
Simant Kumar, 22, a third-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student of Bhopal-based Corporate Institute of Science and Technology . Kumar, 22, was beaten to death in Patna. Simant had come here from Bhopal on February 28 to celebrate Holi with his family.
His family alleged that he was killed by family members of a girl who were against her love affair with him.
Parma Vishnu, a middle-aged man, was beaten to death by a mob in a village in Saran district when he opposed an alleged attempt by some villagers to spray water colour on him.
Banti Singh, a 25-year-old youth and a suspected criminal, was beaten to death by a mob in a village in Begusarai district.
Mantu Paswan, an accused for the murder of a Communist Party of India-Marxist leader, was beaten to death in a village in Samastipur district when he was fleeing after killing a woman.
In Buxar, Bitan Ram was beaten to death over a land dispute. Similarly, another man was beaten to death in Banka district over a minor dispute.
When contacted, police officials admitted that some criminals were lynched in February.
"The police are aware of the rising incidents of lynching both in urban and rural areas," he said. In some cases the "criminals" were lynched even as the police looked on and their family members and relatives protested. At least in some cases, the victims clearly appeared to be innocent.
"People are fed up with growing crimes. As the police do little to curb the crimes, they (people) have started punishing the criminals." Amitesh Yadav, a shopkeeper from Patna said.
In the last two months, nearly a dozen cases of lynching have been reported across the state, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar claims to have brought in 'sushasan', or good governance and established rules of law.
One of the worst cases of mob justice occurred in 2007 when 10 men from the underprivileged Kueri community were beaten to death in Vaishali district as they were suspected to be thieves. Later, a high-level probe found that the men were innocent.