In Nagaland, a land known for its sometimes vigorous civil society, the clamor for justice and condemnation of injustices is a familiar refrain. Whenever incidents of crime or injustice occur, countless organizations rush to send press releases, demanding retribution and advocating for the victims. This display of collective outrage is often laudable, but a closer examination reveals a troubling pattern – one that questions the selectivity of our righteous indignation.
A recent incident in Dimapur serves as a stark example. On the fateful morning of September 3, a horrifying incident unfolded as a speeding car struck a 53-year-old woman, tragically ending her life. The entire incident was captured on CCTV, and the visuals quickly went viral on social media, prompting an outpouring of condemnation from the public online. Yet, amidst this wave of outrage, the conspicuous absence of customary press releases from prominent civil society organizations and apex bodies raises significant concerns.
It is not our intention to question the motives or integrity of these organizations. Still, we must ponder why, in a case where evidence clearly suggests criminal negligence on the part of the driver, there was a noticeable silence. When organizations routinely issue calls for justice and demand punishment for wrongdoers, why was this incident treated differently?
In countless instances, our media inboxes overflow with condemnations, each following a predictable pattern of words and lines. Some go so far as to demand capital punishment and urge authorities not to grant bail to the accused. While passionate advocacy for justice is essential, it is equally crucial that we exercise restraint and respect for due process, even in the most extreme cases.
However, the silence in this particular case forces us to confront uncomfortable questions. Were the identities and backgrounds of the victim and the accused factors in the absence of vocal demands for justice? We also cannot ignore the historical precedence of such situations in Nagaland. Instances where the victim's ethnicity has influenced the public's response to a crime have regrettably occurred in the past.
Selective outrage not only undermines the credibility of civil society organizations but also perpetuates division within our diverse society. Instead of being guided by who the individuals involved are, we should be consistent in our pursuit of justice, irrespective of the identities of the victim or the accused.
In a society that hopefully values diversity, it is incumbent upon us all to rise above selective outrage and advocate for justice without bias. Every life holds intrinsic value and every perpetrator of a crime must be held accountable for their actions.
Civil society has the potential to be a powerful force for positive change, but to realize this potential fully we must demonstrate unwavering commitment to justice for all. Our collective strength lies in our ability to stand together, without prejudice, and demand a fair and just society for everyone.
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