Exclusive

Vigilantes and Mob Culture - Naming and Shaming

IFP Editorial: Recent raids in drinking joints and drug rendezvous points are a matter of concern as drug addicts are no longer treated as the scum of the earth in the rest of the world. Rather, they are victims of the unrest and turmoil in our society beset with lack of opportunities, unemployment and corruption besides several other factors.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 8 Sept 2022, 7:04 pm

(File Photo: IFP)
(File Photo: IFP)

 

Organised vigilante groups have always been in the forefront of the public campaign against drugs and alcohol in Manipur. These groups have been raiding, ransacking distilleries and distribution joints or vendors of illegal drugs and psychotropic substances, and finally tonsuring and publicly parading the ones arrested in the drive. Shaming and naming has been a favourite of these so-called groups, while the law enforcement agencies stood watch not even understanding the fact that such actions are also a part of what we call mob culture.

In the late 70s, when the women Nishabandis ran riot in the leikais catching hold of drunkards and shaming them in public there was not so much fuss as the actions were at the local level. The activities never went beyond the locality and any chance of mob culture taking over was almost nil.

However, with the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) coming into force in the state in 1980, the attention of these women pro-prohibition groups turned towards fighting violation of human rights by security forces and state forces in the name of counter-insurgency operations and thus the ‘MeiraPaibi’ was born. The women activists began organising themselves at both the regional and state level.

Advertisement

In recent times, with a lull in insurgency activities and counter-insurgency operations besides revocation AFSPA from many parts of the state, the attention of the women activists reverted back to prohibition.

As the state government declared its intention to lift prohibition in certain sectors with the twin objective of raising revenue and promoting locally produced brew, once again stiff opposition came from the women activists.

The idea began to take shape once again after BJP’s N Biren Singh came to power. But the idea this time was not necessarily born out of the income it could generate for the state from exporting local liquor, but rather an unfortunate incident which happened on July 29, 2017 in which five people died after having consumed methanol-contaminated country liquor. It sparked off widespread protests against illegal distilleries and the failure of the government to enforce prohibition on totality while also stirring up an old debate about the reality of prohibition.

One has heard enough of tragic deaths across the country after consuming spurious liquor. The other serious problem is health related, where deaths from liver cirrhosis is mostly linked with consumption of adulterated liquor.

Everyone knows that IMFL comes in drums at Khatkati at the Assam-Nagaland border where it is bottled into different brands by using flavours and shipped to God knows where. It is happening on the Myanmar side also, from where high-end foreign brands come. So, the solution seems to be legalisation of production of our local brews and exporting it like Feni from Goa to the rest of the world for extra revenue in the state coffers and of lifting the ban on IMFL.

Advertisement

Before Chief Minister N Biren Singh began his anti-drug campaign, some civil society organisations like AMADA, CADA, YADA and several other groups had been carrying out raids in illegal distilleries and joints besides rendezvous points of drug addicts and peddlers. In fact, some of the groups had their own lock-ups where those seized with liquor or drugs were sometimes beaten up or paraded in public.

In recent times, these groups have started teaming up with the police force and rounding up the addicts and peddlers. But nobody bothers with the distinction between big time drug smugglers and petty dealers or drug addicts who were arrested with small amounts of drugs meant for consumption or how should we treat the drug addicts.

Drug addicts are no longer treated as the scum of the earth in the rest of the world. Rather, they are victims of the unrest and turmoil in our society beset with lack of opportunities, unemployment and corruption besides several other factors.

Lately, the raids in drinking joints and drug rendezvous points have become a matter of concern, as the police remain mere onlookers while the vigilante marauders run riot. Surely, this cannot be a part of the War on Drugs campaign started by Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

–Editorial  

Advertisement

First published:

Tags:

CM Birenwar on drugsraidsdrugs addictsmob culturevigilante groupsalcoholic

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

Advertisement

Top Stories

Loading data...
Advertisement

IFP Exclusive

Loading data...
Advertisement

Feedback

Have a complaint, a suggestion or just some feedback about our content? Please write to onlineifp@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to address it.