After facing a widespread criticism for rising mob lynching incidents occurring across the country, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the state governments must prevent the recurrence of such crimes in future. Thus, the centre has passed the buck on the states to avert lynching incidents. Singh’s statements have come at a time when BJP is ruling 21 states and mob lynching incidents have occurred in several states ruled by it. He also blamed the social media responsible for the spread of fake news resulting in lynching incidents. States ruled by BJP where lynching incidents have happened include Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. Why has the centre failed to take steps to curtail lynching incidents?
Congress spokesperson Atul Londe said, “Home Minister had shirked his responsibility. The Supreme Court has already asked the centre to enact a law to control lynching incidents. Such incidents pave way for polarisation and enable BJP to win the election. Governments have the religious agenda to win the elections. The government had failed on all grounds whether it is development, controlling inflation and farmers’ issue.”
If mob lynching is happening in BJP ruled states too then how can it shun its responsibilities to prevent this crime? Ever since the Modi government has come to the power in 2014, there has been a sharp rise in lynching incidents. More than 97 per cent of those incidents has been witnessed after the Modi government came to power. About half of the cow-related violence, 32 of 63 cases was reported from BJP ruled states.
BJP spokesperson Shirish Boralkar stated, “It is the state government’s responsibility to maintain the law and order. The central government can enact laws but the state government should implement it. Law enforcement comes under state’s jurisdiction whether it is BJP or opposition. So I agree with Rajnath Singh’s statement. The Central Government might even enact a law to stop such incidents.”
Muslims had to bear the brunt of lynching incidents. The opposition had already attacked the Modi government for its failure to control this violence. The Supreme Court had asked the Centre to frame a law to deal with incidents of mob lynching and vigilantism. On the other hand, according to top BJP sources, there is no need for a separate law to control lynching. Instead of taking steps to curtail lynching, BJP leaders are busy issuing statements. BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi stated that lynching is happening due to economic disparity. She mentioned that Bengal migrant worker Manik Roy and Adivasi youth Madhu in Kerala were killed due to economic issues.
Advocate Abbas Kazmi said, “It’s the state government’s responsibility to implement the rules but it is the duty of the central government to enact rules. The Centre must ensure that the state government is effectively implementing it. Since BJP is ruling in several states and is in power in Centre, so it is their responsibility to prevent lynching incidents. Strict action should be taken against culprits to deter them from committing this crime.”
Since last one year, the nation has already witnessed 27 murders in nine states. On May 18, 2017, brothers Vikas Verma (25) and Gautam Verma (27) and their friend Gangesh Gupta (26) were lynched by a mob of 1,000 in Jamshedpur. The next day, a group of around 600-700 persons had lynched Naim (25), Sheikh Sajju (26), Sheikh Siraj (26) and Sheikh Halim (28) Shobhapur village, Jharkhand. Rukmini a 65-year-old elderly woman was assaulted by a mob of 200 in Athimoor village, Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu on May 9, 2018. Twenty six-year-old Kalu Ram, a migrant labour from Rajasthan, was lynched by a mob of 50 persons in Cottonpet, Bengaluru on May 23, 2018. On the same day, N Balakrishna, an autorickshaw driver, was lynched near a toddy shop by a group of 50 persons in Nalgonda, Telangana.
Retired Police DySP M.I. Sheikh said, “The government lacks willpower to stop such incidents. The Supreme Court had ordered the government to take strict action against lynching but the government is not taking it seriously. In a federal democracy, court verdict is most important but will the government listen to them? The central government should implement the laws. Police department works under the pressure of the ruling government. If the government fails to implement the law then it only sends a wrong message to the culprits.”
On June 8, Abhijit Nath (30) and Nilotpal Das (29) were lynched by a mob of 500 persons in Panjuri Kachari village, Karbi Anglong, Assam. A mentally unsound man in his mid-thirties was lynched by a mob of 60 in Bulbulchandi-Dubapara village, Malda, West Bengal. An unidentified man was lynched by a mob of 15 in Mendrakala village, Surguja in Chhattisgarh. A mob of 1000 killed Zahir Khan a 30-year-old hawker in Sidhai Mohanpur, West Tripura on June 28, 2018. Sukanta Chakraborty a 33-year-old announcer hired to spread awareness against lynching rumours was murdered by a mob of 2,000 persons in Kalachhar, South Tripura. Mob also killed an unidentified woman in Lakshmibil village, Sipahijala. Nine lives were lost in Maharashtra on July 1, 2018 — Dadarao Shankarao Bhosale (36) and his brother Bharat (45), Bharat Malve (45), Aagnu Srimant Ingole (20) and Raju Bhosale (47) were killed by a mob of over 3,500 in Rainpada Dhule. Three men were lynched in Aurangabad and one in Gondia in the state last month.