Author : Sudeep Chandra of Law College Dehradun
“A society with lynch culture need a big zoo not for the animals definitely bit for the very people themselves”.
‘We the people‘ – the opening words of the Constitution, the founding document of India – sums up the perception of society, of shared culture and history, and of civic affiliation, a perception that has been questioned throughout the lengthy period of Indian history. India, the fifth-largest economy in the world, is facing a threat to its integrity and growth, given the growing incidence of lynching. It is one of those hate crimes that through structured hate campaigns has become a language of indoctrinating vigilance. A lynch mob is an angry crowd of people who want to kill someone without a trail, because they believe that person has committed a crime. Our country national crime is lynching.
It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob”
– Ida B. Wells
Mob Lynching even though is a new glossary, in India scenario, but has been coming from time to time through the world society for centuries. Lynch Law, which is believed to have been started in the American village Lynchburg ( Virginia) by Charles Lynch. But the mob lynching in India has been on different issues which has been observed by the political parties of the country from their own point of view and whether the place is on the road or in the parliament they use it to achieve their own personal political motives.
Vocabulary.com describes lynching as putting to death of a person through mob action without recourse to the law – “an unlawful murder by an angry mob of people”.
For the past 18 years, India has been witnesses of an unusual increase in crime related to mob violence, in the name of religion, kidnapping etc some reasons are:-
- Rise of cow vigilant or cow rakshaks especially in North India. The menace of the gaurakshaks grew so much that they started targeting the cattle traders and even innocent muslim, thrashing them and then killing them on the spot.
- Some of the lynching that occurred in Jharkhand are:-
- On April 10, 2019, Prakash Ladla was killed after he was found in possession of meat.
- On June 18, 2018 Tabrez Ansari was attacked by a mob in Kharsawan District of Jharkhand on suspicion of theft. He was beaten up and was made to chant “Jai Shree Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”
- On July 09,2019 3 youth thrashed by mob “forced to chant” “Jai Shree Ram”( Amir Wasim, Altaf Ali and Ali Ahmed ) are victims.
Mob is the English word which mean unrestrained or uncontrolled crowd. Lynching can be considered an Americo- Latin word, which means awarding the death sentence without any legal proceeding. That is, when an uncontrolled crowd kill an accused criminal person or otherwise kills him in some other way, then it is being called Mob Lynching.
Current status of law relating to mob violence in India.
Presently there is no special provision or law to punish mob lynching or hate violence in India but there are some other provisions related to such violence. The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) under Section 223(a) provides that the mob involved in same offence in the same act can be tried together. The Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 also has some proximate sections related to hate speech and hate crimes under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (imputation, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505(statements conducing to public mischief) but as seen in majority of the cases, these sections weren’t imposed upon the perpetrators and only sections against individuals such as Section 302(punishment for murder), 307(attempt to murder), 323(punishment for causing hurt), 325(punishment for causing grievous hurt) etc. Such an approach is not justified as incidents like mob lynching are seen from communal lenses and are usually targeted against a certain minority, caste, religion, gender etc. However the courts have started taking the cognizance and heinousness of the offence as it can be seen in the Supreme Court‟s judgment.
The Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India and others issued punitive, remedial and deterrent guidelines for dealing with the cases of mob lynching and recommended the parliament to enact a law to deal with this issue. The guidelines directs the state governments to designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching, to immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past, prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme, for the nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues, every police officer to cause a mob to disperse, which, in his opinion, has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise, to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms, to register FIR under relevant provisions of law against persons who disseminate such messages, to ensure that there is no further harassment of the family members of the victims, cases of lynching and mob violence shall be specifically tried by designated court/fast track courts earmarked for that purpose in each district and the trial shall preferably be concluded within six months and the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person to set an example and if any police officer or an officer of the district administration has failed to fulfil his duty, it will be considered as an act of deliberate negligence and he should pe punished for the same.
Mob violence may happen because of various reasons like in the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots or anti-Muslim riots of Gujarat in 2002 or inter-faith relations like the lynching of Ghulam Mohammad in July‟17 by Hindu Yuva Vahini because of his relations with a Hindu girl in the neighborhood, an individual or a group cannot take the enforcement of laws into their own hands and gradually become law unto themselves and punish the violator on their own assumption and in the manner in which they deem fit in their shallow understanding of justice.
These are episodic acts of violence, of a localised kind, not mass; targeting individuals or groups of individuals, led mostly by decentralized groups, acting as vigilantes, affiliated to violent anti-minority groups, in some cases, acting with the authority of the state. Lynchings have taken place with regularity recently, threatening to grow into a “national epidemic”. The persisting danger of imminent violence, of being vulnerable to attack anywhere – on a public road, in a bus or train, in a marketplace, even in their homes – only for looking and being Muslim”. (Kaarwan-e-Mohabbat)
“WE SEE HUMANS BUT NO HUMANITY AT ALL”