Mob lynching is an act of targeted violence by a large group of people where innocent people are targeted on the basis of some rumor, misinformation or misconception often leading to the death of the victim. Lynching isn’t characterized under the Indian Legal System and there are no disciplines in respect of lynching. Swarm brutality and lynching are not new to India, yet rather have a long history in the nation. Cases reporting of mob lynching have been increased recently; it is a very heinous crime against humanity. People who belong to vulnerable groups, such as minorities and dalits, are frequently attacked and killed by a mob of members of a specific community. Mob lynchings targeting underprivileged communities are a big source of concern in today’s India, as it is the worst form of crime against humanity.
These instances of mob lynching have a profound impact on minorities’ and dalits’ way of life and sense of well-being. It has been seen that mob lynchings are carried out against minorities and dalits on suspicion of eating beef, killing cows, skinning dead cows, child lifting, and stealing. There is also „witch – chasing „ of mobs lynching slow- witted ladies in parts of provincial India killed because of orthodox beliefs of the people in the name of “witch”, the Hindi expression for which being “Dayan” . The study also indicates that most of the cases of mob lynching are committed due to fake news, rumors and hate speeches which are circulated on social media platforms. . The objective of this article is to understand the triggers of mob lynching in the socio-cultural context of India and to examine the linkage between social media and mob lynching.
TRIGGERS OF MOB LYNCHING IN INDIA
1. RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS :
Hindus see the cow as a sacred animal, but Muslims and Christians eat dairy animals as a vital part of their diet. A handful of Muslims have been lynched in the name of bovine butchery. The incidence of mob lynching on a huge scale in the form of mass death of so-called livestock killers by a throng of so-called cow-guards colloquially known as “gou-rakshak” was the major reason for this special discussion.
2. WITCH HUNTING :
Witch hunting is a historical problem in India that is entirely based on mob lynching. “Witch hunting” entails branding a woman as a witch, usually after an Ojha confirms that she is a witch, and then prosecuting and executing her. Witch hunting involves assaulting and killing a lady who is accused of having evil magical skills. Grabbing land, settling scores, family rivalry, property, patriarchy, superstition, suppression, submission, sexual advances, and caste considerations are some of the reasons for witch hunting. Researchers claimed that in the veil of superstition women are targeted and victimized in witch- hunting by some people to grab the land and settled their personal interest. Sometimes, it is used to punish women who question social norms.
3. RUMOURS AND FAKE SPREADING OF MESSAGES THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA:
Most of the time perpetrators of this crime record and circulates the videos of the issues which is attached with the sentiments of a particular group through various modes like social media and thus provoke Mob Lynching. . According to a report, most of the time people have been killed in the country due to several fake media videos and messages. Government of India has also affirmed that disinformation, rumours and fake news are sources of mob violence and in all attacks, that took place in last few years, more than 77 % mob violence cases were related to
attacks, that took place in last few years, more than 77 % mob violence cases were related to rumors and attributed to fake news spread through social media.
4. THE HATE ELEMENT :
Despite the fact that lynchings are recorded under a variety of other statutes, the seriousness and heinousness of the crime goes unacknowledged. Lynching is not the same as murder or rioting; it is an extrajudicial killing that entails hatred for a certain caste, community, or other group. This unrecorded hatred is so powerful that people take the law into their own hands to lynch other humans, and the state apparatus is frequently perceived as impotent in the face of it. From a Hindu-Muslim perspective, political leaders’ comments on the problem of mob lynching pose a threat to India’s social fabric. Comments made by political leaders on the issue of mob lynching, from Hindu-Muslim viewpoint, is a threat to social fabric of Indian society.
5. HATE SPEECH :
In a democratic country like India, citizens can use the term of freedom of speech and expression to criticise government policies as well as make personal remarks against individuals, regardless of their constitutional positions. Sound debates not only enlighten citizens but also provide solutions to pressing issues, but they can give rise to a slew of evils, including defamation, provocation to commit crime, hate speech, and rumours ascribed to fake news circulated via social media.
6. POLITICAL AGENDA :
According to research, hate speech easily attacks the psyche of a vulnerable group, and another takes advantage of the circumstance. He or she just makes statements that touch a nerve with the crowd, resulting in mob lynching. The majority of the time, these astute instigators are politicians who exploit the mob for personal gain. There may be animosity, political rivalry, or other motivations for using the lynch mob’s authority.
Presently there is no codified law against this act of barbarism and sections of IPC, Cr.PC and Evidence Act are adjusted for this matter. Under section 149 of IPC, a mob exceeding five individuals shall be prosecuted for causing death of an individual and also Section 302. Undoubtedly the need of the hour is to stringent laws against mob lynching. Lynching is a genuine wrongdoing and a culpable offense and it ought to be incorporated under different offences given in the Indian Penal Code. Unless a zero tolerance attitude is not adopted in dealing with mob lynching , this will continue to show an upward trend.
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