Violence in the name of law

The government is increasingly devolving its authority over force, legitimising mob violence by non-state actors


Illustration: Binay Sinha

Aakar Patel
India has let go of the cardinal principle of modern governments by allowing — some would say encouraging — mob violence. Max Weber defined the State as a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Only the State, meaning the government, was authorised to use violence and it would punish the use of violence by citizens. This is why murder, rape and assault are crimes against the State.

In allowing organised groups to take over this authority from the State, the Indian State has devolved its monopoly over force. Examples of this abound and are all around us today.

In Gurugram, migrant workers with no access to local mosques are harassed
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

First Published: Jan 20 2022 | 11:33 PM IST

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