Mob Lynch

India is the only land which became home to all the ideologies of the world, the blend of which is unimaginable to anyone. It has for long nurtured each ideology be it spiritual, political, social, cultural or any other aspect. Quite naturally, for so many paths for a society to follow, this land became the natural debating hub where each ideology tried to prove over the other, yet every debate was peaceful and intellectual. We have always respected every being on this planet, we have worshipped soil, river, mountains, trees, images and formless which looks inanimate to the rest of world. 

“There was neither kingdom nor king, neither punishment nor the guilty to be punished, people were acting according to dharma and thereby protecting each other”.[1]

Looking at today’s scenario, the society has changed and the doctrines of tolerance, patience, respect and brotherhood have been forgotten. People have come up with their own definitions of dharma which permits them to allege and lynch any transgressor while the victim begs for mercy and help.

Lynching is a form of extrajudicial punishment by a groupthat has no authority or power to execute such punishment. It is used to denote the informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor or to intimidate a social group. It is an extreme form of informal social control and is also considered to be in consonance with terrorism and is punishable in law. Lynching is to be regarded as a form of violent protest by the public to display their opinion. The verb comes from the phrase “Lynch Law”, a term for a punishment without trial.

The criminal offenses are presumed and the punishments are executed on the alleged transgressor by mob, vigilantes, self-appointed commissions etc. without due process of law.

Lynching is seen by the mob to be the fastest way of adjudicating justice and hence they execute it without any delay and satisfy themselves, deciding the punishment on the spot. Lynching is a way of protest, taking revenge and putting into fear (intimidating), another social group and such is always carried out by violence. There are certain psychological reasons that give rise to such exhibition such as intolerance, dissatisfaction, display of public spectacle etc.

Imparting justice in its own way, very much like the Bollywood hero who goes out in the night punishing hooligans, the mob too considers itself as heroic and revolutionary. Due to this reason, the practice is also called mob justice. It has been established by the psychologists humans follow the behaviour of the majority or the ‘mob’ eg. Violent TV shows effect children and so does lynching. One incident produces a chain of such events and this is the reason why lynching is on rise. The psychology behind the acts is same 1) Display of public spectacle 2) Intolerance 3) Impatience 4) Dissatisfaction towards judiciary 5) Absence of laws 6) Want of power and control 7)promotion of an ideology.

It seems like ‘life’ has become the most inexpensive thing to spare on useless demands. Over the past few years, the psychology of the people has so changed that they want to decide any matter at the immediate moment and the only way they react is violence

IN NEWS

In India, lynchingsare result of internal tensions between numerous communities.Some cases have been discussed in brief:

The Kherlanji massacre, where four members of the Bhotmange family who belonged to the Dalit caste were slaughtered in Khairlanji, a small village in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra, by members of another caste group, the Kunbi. Though this incident was reported as a stereotypical example of “upper” caste violence against members of a “lower” caste, it was actually found to be an example of communal violence. The incident occurred as an act of retaliation against the family because it had opposed the Eminent Domain seizure of its fields so a road could be built that would have benefitted the attacking group. The women of the family, were paraded naked in public, before they were mutilated and murdered.

The riots of Gujarat, the riots over the Ayodhya templeare classic examples reflecting the severity of mob lynching in India and as mentioned they display the psychological reasons behind these events. The scope of mob lynching is so wide that even the Jallian Wala Bagh Massacregets included into it.

Another recent case is the 2015 Dimapur mob lynching, in which a mob in Dimapur, Nagaland, broke into a jail and lynched an accused rapist while he was awaiting trial.

Recently in Kerala, RSS members were mutilated and murdered by the communist party. The communists also took out parade abusing and challenging the members of the Sangh.

On May,201710 people were lynched in Jharkhand due to fake news circulation on watsappwith pictures of dead children, reading: ‘Suspected child lifters are carrying sedatives, injections, spray, cotton and small towels. They speak Hindi, Bangla and Malayalam. If you happen to see any stranger near your house immediately inform local police as he could be a member of the child lifting gang,’

Moreover, the increasing number of lynching in the name of cow vigilantism, brings immediate attention towards the problem.

On 18 May 2017, in Bagmeda(Jharkhand), 4 people were lynched and police was also assaulted by cow vigilantes just after the address over the issue by PM Narendra Modi. This shows the amount of intolerance and lack of fear in people from law.

On 1 April, 2017Pehlu Khan was lynched by a mob led by Vipin Yadav[2] in Alwar, Rajasthan who suspected him for carrying cow for slaughter, though it was later found he was carrying cow from the India’s biggest cattle fair.

On June 22,2017 Junaid, a boy of 15, was lynchedin Ballabgarh,Haryana, on a heated argument on train seats. He was first taunted upon cow slaughter and then was lynched and the body was thrown on platform. His two brothers- Shaqir and Hashin managed to escape.

On June 29, Asgar Ali was lynched by cow vigilantes in Ramgarh, Jharkhand. BJP leader NityanadMahto was also arrested in this case.

On the same day, DSP Mohd. AyudbPandithwas lynched in Srinagar outside mosque alleged for carrying a gun into mosque. Some sources say he tried to stop anit national slogans.

The 2015 Dadri mob lynching case in which a mob of villagers attacked the home of Mohammed Akhlaq, with sticks and bricks, who they suspected of stealing and slaughtering a stolen cow calf, on the night of 28 September 2015 in Bisara village near Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. MohdAkhlaqSaifi died in the attack, and his son, Danish, was seriously injured.

Sh. Maha Shweta Devi, also highlighted the issues of mob lynching, in 1970s where members of “low cast” Lodha community (hunters) and 10 people of Nat community, in Bihar were lynched. The Nats were alleged to be thieves and were brutally murdered. Women were labelled as ‘witches’ and lynched.

A total of 28 people were killed in the year 2015.[3]

Hence, there are several ways of lynching, but the psychology behind them is same.

On June 28, protests were organised in New Delhi, Kolkata, Allahabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Patna, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, against mob lynchingof Dalits and against cow vigilantes, carrying placards that read ‘Not in My Name’, “Break the Silence”, “No Place for Islamophobia” and “Shed Hate not Blood” among others.  Former education and culture minister of Kerala, and a member of the CPM Politburo MA Baby was also present at JantarMantar.[4] The mob demanded answer from Narendra Modi as he was silent on the issue for a long time.

REMEDIES

The term ‘lynching’ or ‘mob lynching’ is not defined in any law in India and also there is so far no law in any other country. There was once Dyer Anti- Lynching Bill passed in the USA in 1922 but it soon flopped due to controversies. To define lynching is easy but to provide an exhaustive definition of mob lynching is very difficult and this is where we need to work. There are a few offences in the Indian Penal Code[5] which relate to mob lynching, though if we look carefully, we can observe that these offences only cover a means/method of mob lynching and not the mob lynching itself for mob lynching has to be recognized as an act itself and there are several methods to commit it. These are:

  1. Sec 34 Acts done in furtherance of common intention (also secs: 35,37,39,52,52A)
  2. Sec 107 Abetment of a thing (also secs: 109,110,111,114,115)
  3. Sec 117 Abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than  ten persons
  4. Sec120A, Sec 120B Definition of criminal conspiracy, Punishment for Criminal Conspiracy
  5. Sec 141 Unlawful Assembly (also secs:142,143,144)
  6. Sec 146 r/w Sec 147 Rioting, Punishment for Rioting(also sec 148,149,152)
  7. Sec 153A Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds if religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc., and doing of acts prejudicial of maintenance of harmony.
  8. Sec 268 Public nuisance
  9. Sec283 Danger or obstructing in public way or line of navigation(particularly for cow vigilantes)
  10. Sec 302 Punishment for murder(also sec307)
  11. Sec325 Punishment for causing grievous hurt(also sec326)
  12. Sec 341 Punishment for wrongful restraint
  13. Sec 352 Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation
  14. Sec 511 Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment

We also have remedies available in constitution of India under:

  1. Art 14:  Right to equality(also art: 15)
  2. Art21  Right to life and personal liberty

In legislation

Prominent personalities including the grandson of late B.R.AmbedkarPrakash Ambedkar, senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and ShehzadPoonawalla released the draft law of ‘Manav Suraksha Kanoon’ (MASUKA) against mob lynching which they said had become a “Common phenomenon ‘ in the country recently and cried for urgent attention.

Prakash Ambedkar said,” We will take the law in Parliament and urge the government to pass it. Mob lynching against a person, a community, a society or group is being practiced in the country like a religious ritual nowadays. Earlier, only Dalits were lynched. That practice was abolished after decades of political and societal intervention.” Terming the killing of people or attacking a community in the garb of “religion protection” or “saviour of rights” as akin to robbing the other person’s fundamental right to life , freedom and liberty, he said,”the so called Gaurakshakas are actually “Manavbhakshaks”. They derive pleasure out of creating violence and satisfy their cruel instinct by indulging in murder. The disciplined society which wants to stay in communal harmony and at peace with all has to win over these vigilantes and therefore I urge the government to pass the bill as early as possible.”

Also, a petition has been initiated by change.org for implementing MASUKA as soon as possible.

It has to be understood by us that we are part of the culture which has always promoted peace and harmony. We have had always had peaceful, respectful and intellectual debate on any ideology. From ancient times we always respected other’s ideology because we knew that any battle over superimposing is useless and distracts us from our track of progress furthermore, disturbing the social progress. It is high time that we become tolerant and patient towards all ideologies, keeping our egos aside. If we fight in the name of god, god would be the first to flee looking at this stupidity. As Vivekananda said “All religion are good”. Even if we lynch people to impose our ideology it’s not doing any good to our progress except our egos.


[1] Shanti Parva, Mahabharata

[2] News by India Today

[3]https://www.thequint.com/quintlab/lynching-in-india/ last checked on 5th sept, 2017

[4]http://indianexpress.com/article/india/not-in-my-name-mob-lynching-junaid-khan-protests-jantar-mantar-4726636/ last checked on 5th sept, 2017

[5] Indian Penal Code,(45 of 1860) as amended by The Criminal Law(Amendment) Act, 2013 (13 of 2013)

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