This Article is written by Anchal Kushwah, student of ISBR Law College.
The spate of mob lynching over the past few years is increasing day by day; still, there is no proper law structure to cure this type of crime except in the state of Manipur which is India’s first state to come up with the bill which has certain laws in the pursuance of mob lynching. Lynching now seems to be very normal not only in our country but across the world, with the immense increase in the number of cases. And when we particularly talk about our country there has been a sudden transaction in the number of cases after 2015. There are number of reasons which are pleaded by the mob after the commitment of their illegal act. And in most of the cases, religion and the religious practices of the people came out as the biggest excuse. After the ban on beef in Maharashtra, this issue got some extra limelight and come in front with some serious cases not only in Maharashtra but all over the country. Recently, when two Sadhus were lynched to death by the mob (a group of 154 people) in Palghar has shaken the nation entirely. This brings us to the main cause of writing an article on mob lynching. In this following article, the researcher will try to bring various aspects in front of all the readers, including the influence of social media on evolution of mob lynching. Adding to this, the researcher will also try to analyze the mob lynching report of India provided by the UN.
EVOLUTION OF MOB LYNCHING
There has already been a spate of opinion pieces in mainstream media over mob lynching for so many years. Though, it was a crime from many years yet it took so long to get recognized as a criminal act in the opinion of the public. In research, it has been reported that between the years 2000 to 2012 the first type of lynching that was reported was witch-hunting which has committed 2,097 murders in at least 12 states of the country. This number in itself is a huge number to go to the other facts and this was not the only reason there were so many like this. The second type pertains to this list is the very historical issues i.e. atrocities against the Dalits. The cases against caste atrocities are generally under report. Then, comes the very popular mob lynching based on the bovine issues, and it got its recognition in the year 2002 where five Dalits from Haryana got lynched by a frenzied mob.
Over the last five years, India has seen an outbreak of religious hate crimes with the increasing average of the happening of one incident every week. In the year 2019, Tabrez Ansari, a 24-year old youth in Jharkhand was lynched by a mob after he chanted ‘Jai Shree Ram‘ demanded by the mob, he was accused of stealing a motorbike he was brutally lynched to death. Further, 25- year old Mohammad Barakat Aalam was assaulted when he was returning from namaz and forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ because he was wearing a skull cap. Such stories of mob lynching in the year 2019 sums up to alarming impunity.
There have been so many cases coming up from 2012 which talk about lynching. Nevertheless, it won’t be wrong to say that this issue got fire after 2015 when Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in Dadri. Similarly in, the Hapur lynching case, where victim’s body was dragged to the police station in the presence of all police authorities to show that police will no longer protect the vulnerable acts of the people. Such cases were more than enough to prove their atrocities against other religions. These incidents were summed up and then the government was forced to take this issue very seriously to avoid any big incidents in the future.
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MOB LYNCHING
In a large consumer-driven society electronic media and social media have become one of the significant as well as fastest sources for the distribution of any information. Regardless of the fact, whether the information which is shared is true or not? And as a consequence of which the fastest source of information sometimes seems to be the cause of various riots occurring around the world. The number of lynching cases has been triggered by rumors spreading on the social media. In the eighteen and nineteenth century rumors were spread from the words of mouth whereas due to the advancement in the technology, the rumors are spread easily, leading to unexpected and often brutal outcomes. In nearly all the incidents of mob violence over the past year, the rumors, usually of child lifting, were circulated on WhatsApp. It is not a coincidence that India is WhatsApp’s biggest market worldwide, with more than 200 million users.
However, the owner of Whatsapp has taken various steps to curb the spread of false information. So, basically social media has become one of the biggest influencers for our youth to spread any type of rumor across the nation and the world within micro-seconds due to which there are a lot of victims of lynching in our nation who were lynched without doing any wrongful act.
UN REPORT OF MOB LYNCHING IN INDIA
In the last couple of years, the Muslims in India have witnessed a rapid increase in hate crimes against them. Also, there have been lynching of Muslims and Dalits across the country by fanatic Hindu mobs, allegedly for the protection of the holy cow. The cases of lynching were increasing day by day then there was the arrival of such cases that took all the limelight.
When a 24-years old man Tabrez Ansari’s and Madarsa school teacher were lynched, the matter went to UN Security Council meeting held at New York. At that point of time these cases were on fire and different opinions were brought by various eminent personalities.
Ansari was lynched by the Hindutva goons at Dhadkidih village in Kharsawan district while the Madarsa teacher was assaulted on a local train in Kolkata for not chanting Jai Sri Ram. Paul Newman Kumar Stanisclavas representing Center of Africa Development and Progress (an NGO) of South Africa stated “These fanatic Hindu mobs have been allowed to move around with apparent impunity. The Indian state has remained mute to the cries of the minorities. We urge the UN to intervene and request India to follow the principles laid in its own Constitution.” It was pleaded that India should follow what is written in their constitution. And Narendra Modi government was strongly condemned to take concrete steps to resolve the current situation and prevent such violence and intimidation.
LAWS IN THE PURSUANCE OF MOB LYNCHING
In this matter, the Supreme Court in 2018 defined lynching as a “horrendous act of mobocracy” and enlightened Centre and State specifically to frame laws for each state particularly.
Soon after the judgment was passed by SC, Manipur became the first state to come up with the first law against the crime of lynching. They have mentioned so many significant points in that legislation, such as structure including the definition of mob lynching which states that “any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.”
The most important contribution given by the Manipur government was that it was the first in the nation to come up with laws pertaining to the protection of the victims of lynching and also it has mentioned that if in case any law official is failed to protect the person under his jurisdiction will be liable for the imprisonment maximum upto 3 years with the fine extended to INR 50,000.
It has also been laid down that all the hate crimes which come under the foster enmity between the human on the basis of religion, race, caste, and language and so on can be penalized under section 153 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Thereafter, states like Manipur, Rajasthan and West Bengal also came up with their different laws in pursuance with mob lynching. It has been noted that West Bengal’s legal framework was considered more stringent to any other state as it has stated that whosoever is found guilty of lynching to death, will be punished with the death penalty or life imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5 lakh.
Lynching has become a social menace all across India; therefore, Central Government has to come up with a permanent law to deal with this social issue, otherwise sooner this nation will become a religion and caste stereotype. Nonetheless, not only the mob lynching but these laws should be applicable to all the hate crimes. Hence, initiative from Central Government is lacking, that may bring some stringent laws to cure the crime. The phrase Unity in Diversity is only left to be used by politicians to strive greater successes. Indeed, after 74 years of independence, differences of religion and caste still exist in the heart of citizens which is one of the barriers towards development. We need to be open to all the religious believes and practices to make our country united in true sense.
- Prabhas k. Dutta,16 lynching in 2 months. Is social media the new serial killer? July 2, 2018 https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/16-lynchings-in-2-months-is-social-media-the-new-serial-killer-1275182-2018-07-02
- Shabina Akhtar, UN Human councils Listens to increasing mob lynching and hate crimes against muslims and dalits in India, July 5, 2019 https://www.newsclick.in/UN-human-right-mob-lynching-hate-crimes-muslims-dalits-india
- Anam Ajmal, ‘It’s not spontaneous anger that leads to lynching … the mob has been emboldenedbecause local politicians support them’, August 1,2018 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/the-interviews-blog/its-not-spontaneous-anger-that-leads-to-lynching-the-mob-has-been-emboldened-because-local-politicians-support-them/
- India struggles with religious lynchings; https://www.dw.com/en/india-struggles-with-religious-lynchings/a-49950223