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Rule of mob: On mob lynching in several States

  • IASbaba
  • July 22, 2020
  • 0
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GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY

Topic: General Studies 2 

  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of people 
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 

Rule of mob: On mob lynching in several States

Context: The lynching of three people, alleged cattle thieves suspected to be Bangladeshi nationals, in Assam on July 18th  

Why the incident is condemned? 

  • It is the second such disturbing incident in recent weeks in the area. On June 1, a 43-year-old Bangladeshi national was lynched in Putni Tea Estate situated about 3 km from the India-Bangladesh border. 
  • Irrespective of whether they are thieves or smugglers, such killings point to a lack of faith in the rule of law, leading to a general lawlessness 
  • It also impacts the cordial relations between India and Bangladesh given the difficulties in handing over the bodies to Bangladeshi authorities 

Did You Know? 

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2017 data which was released in October 2019 a year behind schedule, Assam had 143 registered crimes per lakh of population 
  • The NCRB did collect data on lynchings in 2017 but did not publish those 

What is lynching? 

  • Lynching is defined as an act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (two or more persons) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity. 
  • Lynching is an egregious manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and contempt towards the rule of law.  
  • There have been many incidences of Mob Lynching for issues with respect to cow, children kidnappers , etc  and not only common people but also the police personnel became victims of it. 
  • Amnesty International India documented 721 such incidents between 2015 and 2018.  

Causes of mob lynching 

  • Prejudices in Indian society are age old and deep rooted. These prejudices are based on various identities like race, gender, caste, class, religion, etc.  
  • Social media or technological advances help in the process of ‘confirmation bias – it is the confirmation of a prejudice or a bias 
  • The strategic silence of the State and the ineffective law and order machinery has further given legitimacy to mob lynching. 
  • Political mobilization of fringe groups and Politicization of lynching and strategic silence. 
  • Lack of digital literacy among common people. 

Supreme Court direction 

  • Supreme Court has described lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy” 
  • Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen Poonawala v Union of India, has provided a 11-point prescription for preventive, remedial and punitive measures and has asked Parliament to legislate a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same. 

Is there any separate legislation on lynching? 

There isn’t any Parliamentary law on it but Manipur state has enacted a separate law on lynching. The Manipur Law is in sync with the Supreme Court guidelines. 

  • The Manipur Lawhas defined mob lynchings 
  • The Law specified that there would be nodal officers in each district to control such crimes. 
  • It is the first in the country dealing with the protection and rights of vulnerable populations which defines a new crime of dereliction of duty of public officials. 
  • It states that Police officers who fail to prevent the crime of lynching in their jurisdiction are liable to be imprisoned for a term that may extend from one to three years with a fine limit of ₹50,000. 
  • The Law requires the state to formulate a scheme for relief camps and rehabilitation in case of displacement of victims, and death compensation. 
  • Inspired by this Rajasthan and West Bengal have formulated their version of laws to curb mob lynching 

Way Forward 

  • Mob violence defames the country and there must be stringent intervention by the police to bring an end to this.  
  • The political leadership also has a role to play in questioning the social consent that allows mob violence. 
  • The centre should come with the law to deal with it. 

Connecting the dots:

  • For a demographically diverse country such as India, hate crimes are a disaster. Discuss. 

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