Sets up impromptu public court, gives punishment himself

Jagannath Mahto, a sitting legislator of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), personally handed out “instant justice” at a public court in his house here on Tuesday.

The incident took place at Dumri in Giridih district when Mr. Mahto took the law into his hands and thrashed several young men brought to his public court with accusations of eve-teasing.

The MLA had set up the impromptu court and took it upon himself to hand out punishment after several youths were caught for allegedly passing remarks at women in the area.

The janata durbar (people’s court) at his house was attended by hundreds of people who watched those accused of petty crimes being thrashed by Mr. Mahto.

‘Acting as a guardian’

Speaking to The Hindu on Thursday, Mr. Mahto justified his actions saying that he acted as a guardian for the girls, and that only thrashing could help reform the unruly young men.

“Does not a father punish his children when they commit mistakes?” he said. “Due to these irresponsible men, girls in our society are facing problems. In order to bring harmony and peace in the social order we have to take some harsh decisions.”

Mr. Mahto also implied that the police in his constituency did not enjoy the people’s confidence. “Every time the people cannot wait for the court to take a decision; they have chosen us to take care of them and that is what I am trying to do. Everyday I have to deal with different kinds of complaints, which force me to give out public punishment and finish the complaint.”

There have been several criminal charges such as murder, violent attacks and violation of the Arms Act against Mr. Mahto, who reportedly only intervenes in cases of minor violations of the law.

The public court has become a routine event for the people of Dumri, as there was little outcry in the State after footage of the MLA beating up and punishing several men was shown on local television channels.

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