Eric Linge, Pitt Law '09, files from Mumbai:
On Wednesday a gang of lawyers tied a 24-year old boy to a tree in front of the Court in Agra. They shaved his head and poured water on it. Then the gang took turns slapping him across his face. He was a skinny boy, and he wasn't wearing a shirt. When hit, he didn't writhe in pain, he just lowered his eyes and stared into the television camera. The tubby lawyers were not real brutal slappers. No one made any effort to shoo the television camera.
Television newscasters speculated this whole incident occurred because the lawyers of this state, Uttar Pradesh, think they are above the law with their heavy political connections. The newscasts have also called Uttar Pradesh India's most lawless state, a claim which is of course debatable, but its politics are definately volatile. And earlier this year lawyers from Uttar Pradesh were again caught on camera ganging up and beating down a defenseless person.
The boy beaten on Wednesday had been in argument earlier with one of the lawyers in the gang. The boy was a dalit, the politically correct name for untouchables, an electorate demographic swept to power in last month's elections. Even some of the politicians of last month's election were themselves lawless, criminal in fact.
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