Is Looting Illegal? Does India Have Laws To Punish Mango Looters In Delhi?

Hanima Anand |May 23, 2020

The viral video of Delhi people looting mangoes from a fruit seller is like a slap of shame to all human kindness during this tough time of coronavirus pandemic. Are these people to be punished by laws?

Yesterday, we were speechless when watching dozens of people in Delhi looting mangoes worth up to Rs. 30,000 from a fruit seller. While humans are supposed to unite during the pandemic, this action makes every Indian feel ashamed for those people in the video.

Rs 30,000 mangoes disappear in the blink of an eye

According to reports, a street vendor named Chhote laid his mangoes on the street after a group of men asked him to move his cart. When he was away, some people nearby took advantage of the situation.

Looting Mangoes In Delhi
These people noticed the unattended carts, looting as many mangoes as they could.

They started to loot the fruits and even called others to do so. From the passing drivers, rickshaw pullers, hawkers to pedestrians, everyone rushed to pick as many mangoes as they could, filling their helmets also.

Very quickly, Rs 30,000 mangoes ran out. When Chhote came back, what he saw was just empty carts lying around on the street.

Looting Mangoes In Delhi 2
A man trying to fill his helmets with looted mangoes

So, the question is: Will these people be punished by laws? Does India have any regulation to prevent such an inhuman act?

This time, they may just look mangoes and make accuse that it is just like necessities as water or food to help them overcome hunger during this tough time. If there is no punishment, gradually looters will take more valuable things such as money, jewelry, or electronic device whenever they have a chance to do so.

Looting is illegal

First and foremost, looting is stealing. Clearly looters take others’ properties without their awareness and permission. This action is exactly similar to stealing or burglary.

In fact, many countries in the world have already imposed laws to deal with this. While some would punish them in the form of fines or penalties, others like US allow people to use force when facing looters. This means it’s legal to protect your possessions against looters with a weapon for example.

Looting Beer
A beer looting case in Vietnam, but these people were then brought to court for punishment.

Looters must be punished by Indian laws

Sadly, in India, we don’t see any clear regulation or law in terms of looting prevention. Neither do we hear about authorities’ movements after this shameful incident.

We can deal with theft or burglary but looting is something more ‘sensitive’ to us, when the action is conducted by a community with many involved at the same time. It’s hard to detect the first one as well as the evidence and amount of goods looted to decide penalties.

Some also claim that they can’t be punished when looting only 3 or 4 mangoes.

It makes sense to many, but what if hundreds of people looting at the same time and each takes 3 mangoes only? How much loss does the victim have to suffer?

Who will compensate for the fruit seller in the video?

To prevent similar crimes in the future, we eagerly urge Indian law-makers to investigate the case and impose strict regulations with severe punishment for looters.

>>> Related post: When 'Stay Home' Doesn't Mean 'Stay Safe' - These Indian Women Are Begging For End Of Lockdown


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