Lynching is kind of a punishment given by the crowd without any trial. Due to some unknown reasons, the National Crime Records Bureau of India has not assembled the number of cases in India since 2015 but the numbers reported by various types of media are alarming.
The Supreme court of India described lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy’’. The court has asked the centre to make lynching as a separate offense in 2019 and directed several preventive measures which included setting up a special task force in states to procure intelligence reports about the people likely to commit such crimes.
Such types of crime are a threat to every society. In countries like India where unity lives in diversity this can consume our country as a typhoon-like monster. The continuous elevation in the graph of cases regarding lynching arises a question in front of us that “does our country has lost the values tolerance to sustain a diverse culture?’’
In August 2019 Rajasthan has passed a bill against lynching and honour killing which provides lifetime imprisonment and a fine of 5 lakh rupees for the offense of lynching. It also includes the appointment of a nodal officer of the rank of inspector general of police to prevent lynching and establishments of relief camps in safe zones for victims. In this row, the Manipur government was the first state government to come up with a bill against lynching in 2018 which included the appointment of nodal officers in every district.
Also, the police officers who will fail to maintain in controlling lynching in their jurisdiction will be liable for imprisonment which may extend from one year to three years with a fine limit of 50000. In this row, the West Bengal government has also passed a bill in August 2019. The legislation has provisions for a death sentence and also the appointment of a nodal officer. It also has provisions of jail from 3 years to life imprisonment for the person involved in assaulting or injuring a person.
In this context some state governments have done an appreciable job while our central government seems blindfolded in this context because they are continuously ignoring this highly alarming situation. Working on the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in the judgment of ‘Tehseens Poonawalla’ vs Union of India, Modi government has appointed a panel to work upon the need of enacting a new anti-lynching law in the country.
The panel also submitted its report to a group of ministers headed by Mr. Rajnath Singh which at present lies in cold storage. No progress has been seen so far after the submission of the report. When the court asked the data of the number of deaths due to the mob lynching ministry of home affairs responded that NCRB has not maintained any data concerning it. It seems like we are running away from the alarming situation which can be disastrous in the future by just saying that we don’t have data that it is occurring.
Conditions get even worse when some politicians try to give it a religious or communal angle and their blind supporters believe them. Let’s take an example of the most recent high-profile sadhus’ case where there was no religious angle as the home minister of Maharashtra Mr. Anil Deshmukh posted a complete list of 115 people arrested by the Maharashtrian police stating that none of the arrested were Muslims. WhatsApp rumours of thieves operating in the area during lockdown were the only reason behind the lynching.
The sadhus were misidentified as thieves by a group of villagers who killed them. But some intellectual people of our country gave it a religious angle and said they were lynched because they were Hindu without knowing the facts just to gain the attention of society. Our country has witnessed such kind of cases in the past also. Earlier it was highly mistaken that only the people belonging to minorities become the victims of these incidents but it is not completely against a society specific anyone can be the victim because according to a supreme court’s judgment “Crime knows no religion and neither the perpetrator nor the victim can be viewed through the lens of race, caste or religion.’’
In this era of fast-forwarding these incidents grow like weeds to our healthy growing society which should be removed timely or they will affect the roots of our society. Fake news, false stories, rumours lead to disastrous situations so we all have to take the responsibilities on our shoulders of not spreading any kind of messages which disturbs the harmony of our country. India is the only country where unity lives in diversity. We will not let anybody disturb the peace and harmony of our country because we all are Indians first.
National Human Rights Commission has registered 2,008 cases between 2016 to 2019 in which minorities or Dalits were harassed (including cases of lynching) .Now the question arises is the existing law is enough to tackle with this continuously alarming situation? So, a clear answer is no. The Centre should frame a law which will include punitive actions against the politicians found guilty in instigating mobs.
It is found in many cases that doctors don’t attend the victims of lynching timely or they prepare false reports under coercion due to police or politics. So, the government should also consider this problem while framing the law. Under the compensation scheme the amount of compensation and medical expenses of the victim should be recovered from the convicts. This crime will keep on rising if a policy of zero-tolerance will not be adopted by the government. They can’t run away from it by just saying that they have no reliable data to make it a separate offense under the Indian Penal Code.
Apart from law no one has a right to punish anyone. Article 10 of UHDR says that “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and any criminal charge against it.”
Be a responsible citizen who stays away from fraud patriots who spread communalism. Cross-check every message before forwarding it because your one forward can lead to a massive problem. Don’t let our democracy to become a mobocracy.
– Kanupriya Saini