Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over growing incidents of lynching in the country. The word “lynching” was practically unheard of before 2014, he said, suggesting that such incidents have been on the rise after the current government came to power.
“Before 2014, the word ‘lynching’ was practically unheard of,” Mr Gandhi said in a one-line tweet with #ThankYouModiJi.
The Congress leader’s comments came amid recent incidents of lynching taking place in Punjab, a state ruled by his party. The state has urged the centre to get the President’s assent on two state Bills for stringent punishment in sacrilege cases after two people were beaten to death in less than 24 hours for allegedly “desecrating Sikh religious sentiments”.
Several states – mostly the ones ruled by the BJP like Uttar Pradesh and Assam – have reported incidents of lynching in the past, prompting the Supreme Court to issue advisories to state governments to check such incidents.
While Rajasthan and Manipur have passed bills to check lynching, other states like Assam are considering a proposal on the same.
“Though we have not enacted any law against mob lynching, we must take steps to prevent it. Many such gruesome incidents have shaken us. We will discuss and consider the acts implemented by other states,” Assam Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pijush Hazarika said in the Assembly.
Assam, where the BJP is in power, has seen several cases of mob lynching in the last few years. On November 29, a 28-year-old All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leader was lynched by a group of people in Jorhat after a heated argument over an accident in front of scores of onlookers, who did nothing to stop it but were busy filming the incident on mobile phones.
Despite growing incidents of mob lynching in the country, the centre has not maintained separate data on people killed or injured in these incidents.
“National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publishes crime data received from all the states/union territories under various crime heads defined under the Indian Penal Code and special and local laws. No separate data on persons killed or injured by vigilante groups or mobs or crowds is maintained by NCRB,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told the Rajya Sabha last week.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, however, said the government, through audio-visual media, has generated public awareness to curb the menace of mob lynching.
The government has also sensitised service providers to take steps to check the propagation of false news and rumours having potential to incite mob violence and lynching, Mr Rai said in response to a question last week in Rajya Sabha.