- Lynching is an act of killing someone or a group without a legal trial. In other words, it’s a planned extra-judicial killing via a group. The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that these extra-judicial attempts of killing under the guise of the protectors of the law have to be nipped in the bud otherwise it would lead to anarchy which would plague and destroy the nation like an epidemic. When the people take the law in their hands, it can be destructive for the whole society.
- Cases of lynching and mob violence can be found in every society. America topped with highest lynching rate, however, the number of reported lynching decreased in the 1940s, and lynching that did occur were less public and more private because of a more progressive society. However, In India lynching still takes place. The Honorable Supreme Court laid down preventive, remedial and punitive measures to restrain the lynching and mob violence.
- This article will tell you about the background and present status of lynching in India. This article will also focus on the factors resulting in lynching and mob violence such as technology, hate, religious matters, upper-caste vs lower caste, black vs white etc. Also discussing the role of legal machinery in curbing the threat of lynching and mob violence in India.
Lynching is an extra-judicial killing without a legal trial. Lynching is a kind of mob justice wherein people come together to punish or terrorize someone. The word ‘Mob’ means an uncontrolled crowd and lynching means killing someone without a legal trial. Therefore, when an uncontrollable crowd kills someone without trial then it is being called mob lynching. The origin of Lynching is not clear, some claim that it comes from Virginia court judge Charles Lynch. He was known to have regularly imprisoned British loyalists without a trial. Because they were never given a trial, and he didn't have the authority to imprison them, the practice became known as lynch law.
Lynch law was heard and understood by the 1810s and the verb lynch and noun lynching by using the 1830s. By the flip of the nineteenth century began to be referred to as the murder of black people by way of white mobs with none authentic prison authority. The first lynching recorded occurred in 1835 in St. Louis. A Black man was accused of killing a deputy sheriff, he was chained to a tree and burned to death in front of a crowd. Some civil activists use the word lynching typically to refer to the homicide of black people by the white human beings due to the color of their skin. Various other victims of lynching were Mexicans, Chinese, and European-Americans. By the stop of the 19th century, Black Americans were the primary target of lynching. According to the Tuskegee Institute, 3446 blacks had been lynched between 1882 and 1968. Lynching have become less commonplace within the twentieth century but it nevertheless persisted and were extra private due to a more progressive society. Lynching attracts attention towards hate crimes and insensitivity.
LYNCHING AND MOB VIOLENCE IN INDIA
Mob lynching was not a new incident in India, it all started in 1857 when a mob attacked British civilians. After that, in 1947 people were attacked by the mob at the time of India- Pakistan partition. Lastly, violence during Bombay riots (1992), Gujarat (2002), Baksa riots (2015) etc. Lynching is also referred to as an extra-judicial killing. In July 2018, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that “mob lynching is a crime no matter what the motive is”. The increase in the cases of mob lynching over the past few years has led to a sense of insecurity among the marginalized community. According to the Quint records of mob violence across India since 2015, more than 113 people have been killed.
Mobs are undermining the law and are taking law in their hands which can be destructive for the whole society. To demolish mob lynching, it is very important that people trust the justice system. Law and order is a state subject and a person guilty will be punished with due process. It is also very necessary that politicians stop backing the mob and instead ensure against the mob.
In the recent past, mob lynching remained a topic of discussion and The Honorable Supreme Court laid down preventive, remedial and punitive measures to restrain the lynching and mob violence in the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla Vs. Union of India and others (2018), on July 17, 2018. Tehseen S. Poonawalla is a social activist and in this case, he observed that lynching is an insult to the rule of law and to the values of the constitution itself and it cannot be allowed to become the order of the day. In the end, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that these extra-judicial attempts of killing under the guise of the protectors of the law have to be nipped in the bud otherwise it would lead to anarchy which would plague and destroy the nation like an epidemic and laid down preventive, remedial and punitive measures to restrain the lynching and mob violence.
ROLE OF RELIGION
In the last ten years, India has seen an outbreak of religious crimes. Mobs have targeted people mainly because of their caste and religion. Between the year 2009 and 2020, more than 254 cases of lynching are motivated by religious and caste hatred. Presently, the rate of lynching is increasing because of the intolerance and hatred of each other’s caste and religion. Mob lynching came into the discussion a lot because of the mass killing of the cow killers by the crowd. Those mobs call themselves as gau-rakshak, protectors of cows. Mostly Muslims were lynched by a Hindu mob. They were the target of more than 50% of violence.
In 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq and his son Danish was lynched by a Hindu mob for stealing and slaughtering a cow and also storing the meat for consumption at Bidara village of UP. It was the first case of a Muslim killed by a Hindu mob in the name of cow and this incident became famous as Dadri Lynching.
In 2017, a Muslim boy with his two brothers was accused of being a terrorist, anti-national and consumer of beef by a Hindu mob which resulted in the death of a young boy. Between 2011 and 2017 cow-related violence has spiked up from 5% to 20% of overall lynching incidents by using the stop of June. In the first few months of 2017, 18 cow-related crimes were pronounced this is 75% of the 2016 figures. In 2018, Rakbar was transporting cows on foot and on the way was attacked by mobs accusing him to be a cow smuggler and died in police custody. In April 2019, a 55-year-old Prakash Lakda was lynched by Hindu villagers who suspected him of slaughtering a cow in Jharkhand. A cow-related lynching was not prosecuted by the police and also went unnoticed by the public of Jharkhand.
In 2020, a 32-year-old was lynched near Patna over the suspicion of cattle theft.
Recently, regarding the communal violence in the districts of Indore, Mandsaur and Ujjain in the form of fund collection for the construction of ram mandir, a plea is submitted in Madhya Pradesh High Court to implement Supreme Court’s direction passed in Tehseen Poonawalla Vs Union of India on communal violence.
ROLE OF POLITICS
Politics usually play an incredible position in mob lynching. A certain form of political ideology that is primarily based on Hindutva is gambling a big position in such incidents. In India, some of the political events and companies are historically primarily based on religion and caste which unfold hatred in society to play their political card for the duration of election ended in mob assaults.
Since Narendra Modi has been elected in 2014, there has been a surge in the cases of mob lynching in India Beef ban, Ghar Vapsi and Love jihad, and many others are all politically inspired notions to polarize the society and take benefit as political advantage.90% of the religious crimes have occurred after Modi led the BJP to power in 2014 .
The highest number of mob crimes is recorded in Uttar Pradesh which is led by a BJP leader. Karnataka is at second place with the high mob crimes. More than 60% of the lynching cases have occurred in BJP ruled states and more than 10% of such cases have been reported in Congress ruled states.
Political affiliations are regarded or stated, as excessive as 80% of the detest crimes had been by way of attackers who have been allegedly affiliated with Hindutva businesses, along with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, among others; as properly of the political parties of the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Members of the Bajrang Dal had been determined to be worried in the largest variety of hate crimes.
ROLE OF SUPERSTITION
Witch hunting is the ancient hassle in India which is also based totally on mob lynching. “Witch-hunting" includes naming a lady as a witch, the manner of prosecution and execution of that girl, often regarding mass hysteria and lynching. The reasons for witch hunting as noticed grabbing land, settle scores, patriarchy, superstition, suppression, subordination and caste factors etc.
According to National Crime Record Bureau 2016, from the year 2000 to 2015 around 2100 cases are registered against the witch hunting process in India and most of the victims are from minority communities.
In 2014, a woman and her daughter was accused of practicing witch craft and were tortured to death. In 2015, five women were accused of practicing witchcraft and were lynched by the villagers. The cases of lynching due to witchcraft still continues.
ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Mob lynching cases can be linked with technology as most of the mob attacks were based on rumors. Rumors unfold like wildfire on instantaneous messaging platforms consisting of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc. India is the country where the users’ forward messages, pictures and videos more than any other country. Social media has fueled the violence against the people across the country.
Then Honorable Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra said that such matters lead to mobocracy and loss of life. He said, "There is a recent surge in mob lynching, please don't misunderstand me because I have authored the judgement, there is a recent surge in mob lynching based on the viral text on the social media and this leads to mobocracy and loss of life, in certain cases," . There needs to be a regular check on social media to avoid such incidents and maintain peace.
Even though India has a long history of lynching, there is no national law on mob lynching. However, National rules together with the Constitution of India, the Indian Penal Code and The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 may be linked with the lynching offences. the Law Commission, in its Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2017, proposed insertion of a new provision, viz. 153C inside the IPC, prohibiting ‘incitement to hatred’, going beyond that to incite enmity and disturb national harmony. The closest element in the Indian Law to a hate crime regulation is The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, 2015, which criminalizes violence and atrocities in opposition to Dalits and indigenous network the most marginalized of Indian society.
In 2018, honorable Supreme Court laid down rules and regulations for both the State and Centre to formulate laws regulating mob lynching in India. The government of Manipur was the first to bring laws against lynching in the year 2018. Inspired by Manipur, Rajasthan and West Bengal formulated their laws to prevent mob lynching. The laws against lynching in West Bengal is stricter as a person can be punished with death penalty or life imprisonment or fine up to 5 lakhs.
In Poonawalla case, Honorable Supreme Court laid down preventive, remedial measures to curb the problem of lynching in India.
Court stated that in every state there has to be Nodal officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police. A special task force must be appointed to get the intelligence reports about the details of lynching. NPO will conduct a meeting every month with local intelligence and quarterly meet DGP or home secretary. The Home ministry of India must take initiative to enforce the constitutional aim of social justice and the Rule of Law. There should be seriousness in patrolling so that the anti-social elements worried in such crimes are discouraged and remain within the limitations of law hence fearing to even think of taking the law into their fingers. It’s the duty of Union and state government to screen the message that lynching and mob violence will bring serious consequences. The police shall cause to sign up FIR under Section 153A of IPC and/or other relevant provisions of regulation towards folks who disseminate irresponsible and explosive messages and movies having that can cause incidents of mob lynching.
FIR ought to be lodged right away and the protection of circle of individuals of the victim have to be ensured. Nodal officer must continue with the investigation. The court instructed the state government to make victim compensation scheme under section 357A of Criminal Procedure Code. The identity and address of the victim must be protected by the court. The police and the court must safeguard the witness and provide them with day to day report of trial to the family of the victim. An advocated must be provided to the victim under Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Appropriate action must be taken against a police officer who fails to comply with the aforesaid directions as it will be considered an act of intentional negligence. The actions should be taken within six months.
Many people without thinking twice kill someone shows hatred and inequality amongst Indians. It could be developed due to lack of education and awareness. In most of the mob lynching cases, victims mostly belong to lower cast or minority group. Thus, such incidents require a special law to curb the issue of lynching in India. It is a real understatement that intolerance of the Indians is of one of these levels that they take into account themselves above regulation and create detrimental instances against law and order. There's no area for crowded mechanism in democracy, the sociology of the gang is the result of personal wondering or may be taken into consideration as the majority's resentment in the direction of any particular crime but law cannot be taken in one’s hand otherwise it would destroy the whole society. Lynching not only create fear among the society but also stops the growth of the society. It is the black spot on the face of Indian democracy. Along with the strict rules and laws, good quality education and awareness among the people must be provided. In India, national law is required on lynching and balanced approach should be adopted. Measures laid down by the court must be followed strictly. Government has issued various measures to prevent mob lynching yet it is also the responsibility of every citizen to address the problem with the help of legal system instead of torturing and killing someone. Every citizen must maintain peace and equality. Humans should understand that their act of presenting justice is not anything however in itself an extreme crime. In India, people’s religious ideologies appear to overpower their experience of humanity. And in this kind of state of affairs, it is no longer a particular faith that fails, but humanity as a whole.