A Tamil Nadu bus conductor bore the brunt of mob justice recently after a skirmish over a female passenger missing her stop. Graphic CCTV footage shows Mookaiyan set upon by at least five men raining fists down upon him. The brutal beatdown went viral, spotlighting alarming disregard for due process when emotions run high.
The incident occurred aboard a private bus operating between Chathiram and Thuvakudi. According to reports, the clash began when conductor Mookaiyan inadvertently left a woman off past her desired destination at a local temple. She gave him an earful.
Simmering tensions came to a head when the bus returned to Chathiram terminal later. Five men stormed aboard, accosting and thrashing Mookaiyan for his perceived rudeness towards the female passenger earlier. Shocking footage shows the pack raining down merciless blows as he cowers crying for quarter.
Some courageous passengers did attempt to intervene and stem the senseless attack. But the gang continued beating the conductor before trying to rob his cash bag and flee. Fortunately transport staff rescued Mookaiyan before more grievous harm transpired. He suffered nasty bruising nonetheless.
The beleaguered conductor filed charges against his unruly attackers afterwards. But the men had already melted into the crowds outside. Police are examining CCTV and working to bring the quick-tempered culprits to justice.
While intentions to defending women’s dignity seem noble, civil society cannot condone vigilante vengeance. As one media headline put it: “No excuse for bus conductor’s behaviour, but is mob justice the answer?”
The timeline of the ugly event is outlined below:
|Jan 29, evening
|Conductor Mookaiyan argues with female passenger, leaves her off far from correct stop
|Jan 29, night
|Five men assault Mookaiyan at Chathiram terminal to punish his perceived misogyny
|Police case filed against five attackers based off conductor’s statement, CCTV footage
|Footage of mob beating goes viral on social media
Regrettably, there have been other instances in the past where conductors have been threatened for the matter of women seating. In July 2022, the women’s seats on Pune buses were occupied by men which made the bus conductor Maruti Jamdade sustain serious injuries. When he asked for tickets, he was attacked and punched by an iron bangle requiring four stiches.
Although no misogynistic action deserves a License for mob rule, violence against those on the frontlines is symptomatic of broken social bonds. The lawful institutions must be reaffirmed to handle the dissatisfactions, however upsetting. For societal progress and women’s emancipation the course is laid through civil discussions.
This brutal mob assault illuminates escalating tensions surrounding women’s safety and rights in public transit. Yet condoning vigilantism against even chauvinistic parties sets dangerous precedent. Turning overdue moral outrage into meaningful change instead requires civic participation and dialogue with authorities. If India is to achieve gender equity and secure women’s access to safe transportation nationwide, due process and institutional reform offer the only viable way forward.