Author: AVINASH KUMAR
SCHOOL OF LAW, UPES DEHRADUN
Day by day the number of lynching cases in India is increasing. An increase in the number of lynching cases is a threat to society and its integrity. Hate is increasing day by day in society and hatred is an important reason for someone being lynched. The hate between society and hate between religion plays a vital role in the lynching of any person. Rumors in society are one of the reasons behind the lynching. Because of the rumors, majoritarian gather at one place and are beaten up on the mere ground of suspicion or a particular person belongs from a different religion or caste. Sometimes a particular person is being lynched only because he is growing a beard or he has refused to raise the slogan of Jai Shri Ram, either he is a monk and wearing saffron clothes. In India, people lynch each other based on their religion, caste, dress, food, and drink. Mob just wait their turn and always keeps calm and wait for the majoritarian to execute and after that, they become the part of the mob that’s why there is no caste and religion of the mob. If any person does something illegal activity then there is law and rule of law in the country but on mere grounds of suspicion, they take the law in the hand, and instead of judging the judiciary, they decide on the spot. This paper aims to analyze the reason behind the mob lynching, the religious and political angle behind the lynching, and what are the solution to curb them. Although there is not any particular law on mob lynching in India. Government is silent upon them. The guilty are leaving early due to no harsh punishment. Therefore, the government should enact a new law on mob lynching so that guilty can get harsh punishment.
India is a diverse country where different types of languages are spoken, where different religions, caste people live, where people eat different kinds of food. Every citizen has a fundamental right to speak, right to move, right to eat of their choice, right to religion. It is the beauty of democracy that the state has not no right to interfere in any personal life and the State has not any right to impose its favorite thing on the citizen. Everyone is free to do their own choice.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution talks about the Protection of life and personal liberty where no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. The backbone of Indian democracy is the Rule of Law. No one is above the Rule of law and everyone has to follow the Rule of Law, it doesn’t matter that whether you are State or you are a citizen. If there is no law to shoot a rapist in the middle of the road, then neither the government nor the common citizens can give this punishment. Any person who commits the crime can be punished through the procedure established by law. No one has the authority to take the law into their hand. Despite having different types of laws in India there has increased in incidents of mob lynching. In most cases, the reason for Mob lynching in India is “Cow Slaughter”. Angry mob lynches the people in the name of cow slaughter with the law in their hands.
Article 15 of the Indian Constitution talks about the formation of the association. There are many organizations in India whose formation is illegal and they are doing an illegal activity in the name of “Gau Rakshak”. A group of organizations, Mob, or an individual is killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti. How can anyone do the Gau Bhakti by killing the human being? It is a type of violence where such type of incidents can happen anywhere. Majoritarian acts according to the situation. At the time of the lynching mob has neither an eye nor a brain and he is in such a position that we all are doing Gau Bhakti or doing for the nation. How can someone show their patriotism by killing someone? Killing someone in the name of Gau Raksha is an extreme level of Jingoism.
Nobody is limited to lynching anyone in the name of protecting the cow, sometimes the mob also lynches someone from the thief’s perspective or if he denies speaking Jay Shree Ram, Allah Hu Akbar, Bharat Mata Ki Jay. Nobody is sure that when he will become the next victim of the mob and will be lynched for any inhuman reason.
Sometimes police face difficulty while registering the case against mob due to a large number of crowd. You cannot deny the involvement of the institution and the involvement of politicians in the execution of mob violence. Institutions like police have a responsibility to stop crime and maintain rule of law but when a mob gathered then the police remain as a mute spectators.
We are living in a society where people kill someone by telling them to bewitch, on the charge of stopping someone and eating cow, intermarriage, accused of stealing something and not speaking Jay Shree Ram or Allah Hu Akbar.
- What is the reason behind the Mob Lynching?
In this modern era technology is both good and bad for society. Technology has become a part of daily life. Social media platforms like What sup, Facebook, Twitter have become some of the fastest ways to communicate with one another it does not matter that another person is in which city. Nowadays social site like What sup, Facebook, Twitter has become one of the platforms to spread misinformation and rumors. Sometimes a person does a fake announcement and sometimes a person forwarded a fake message on What sup. The rumors like cow slaughtering, child kidnapping, which are spread on social sites, and without knowing the truth people gathered and mobs kill innocent people by taking the laws into their hands. Instead of complaining to the police mob take the law into their hands and deliver justice instantly.
In 2015, Akhlaq a resident of Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) was killed by a mob over rumors of cow slaughter and possession of beef.
On 28th September, an announcement was done by the priest from the temple to gather near the “Transformer”. The priest had announced that someone has slaughter the cow in the village. After that, a mob gathered near the transformer and forcefully entered the Akhlaq house. A mob dragged the Akhlaq from the house and beaten him to death. Mohammad Danish, son of Akhlaq received severe head injuries in the assault. However, his family always denied that there was no beef at home, rather our relative had sent the Goat’s meat which was kept in the fridge.
This is the story of one family where the mob killed the innocent Akhlaq only on the suspicion of cow meats whereas they had the Goat’s meat in the fridge. Don’t know how many people like Akhlaq are killed by the mob only based on doubt
- Hate Speech:
Article 19(1)(A) of the Indian Constitution talks about the freedom of speech and expression. Every citizen has the right to free speech and expression. Freedom of expression is one of the important segments of democracy. It provides the opportunity for the citizen to keep their view on social, political, and legal issues with some restrictions. Sometimes words are riskier than the immediate hurt. Freedom of speech and expression doesn’t mean that you will spread hate in society. Nowadays the scenario has changed and just because of the vote politics the Leaders have started spewing venom in society through their speeches and divided the society in the name of Hindu and Muslim. Sowing hatred in society is equivalent to injecting into the body of people, due to which hatred is gradually increasing in society and politicians are doing such things in the name of free speech and expression. In the current scenario, hate speech has made one of the burning issues, and nowadays hate speech has become one of the prominent ways to cause the lives of innocent people. Sometimes hate speech of any leader works instantly and the mob commits the crime and Sometimes it acts like an injection that upsets the mental balance of a particular person and becomes part of the mob. Listening to hate speech generates violence in people’s minds and this violence becomes in the form of collective violence by a group of people. Sometimes a person circulates the recorded video on social media and the crowd gathered at a particular place and killed the innocent person without cross-checking the reality of the videos and in the defense of violence mob pleads that these particular videos hurt my religious sentiment. A lynch mob is an angry crowd of people who want to kill someone without a trial because they believe that person has committed a crime.
- Suspect someone of Patriotism and Kill him
Everyone loves their own country. Loves are the feelings that neither Hindu nor Muslim can show for their country. But nowadays the scenario has changed and everyone is suspicious of another patriotism. If I love my mother and someone says that if you love your mother, then prove yourself so someone loves their mother then how will anyone prove it? Nowadays the same things are happening to the minority. The majority of the people are doubting the patriotism of minorities and guessing that he doesn’t love the country. Many incidents have happened in India where the mob has beaten the individual just because he refused to raise the slogan of “Bharat Mata Ki Jay”. HuffPost reported that A Muslim trader was slapped by Bajrang Dal Activists in Uttar Pradesh just because he refused to raise the slogan of “Bharat Mata Ki Jay”. A Muslim trader had come to the mosque to offer prayer and Bajrang Dal Activists were taking out a march and someone from the crowd asked the Muslim trader to raise the slogan then he refused to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jay then Bajrang Dal Activists slapped him for not raising the slogan. A complaint was filed against around 100 unidentified people who were part of the crowd. Such type of incidents is a classic example of forcing one’s own religion onto another and transforming patriotism into the form of Jingoism. If you analyze the mindset behind this, then you will realize that this has become the mindset that Muslims are the terrorist and they do not love the country.
- Lack of strict law in India
Law is the establishment of an acculturated society. The essential objective of making laws is to have a precise society. Lynching has become a social hazard all over India. Every day we read in the newspaper that a person has been lynched on suspicion of cow slaughtering or the suspicion of theft. There is no particular law on mob lynching in India. If a person is found guilty then the case runs under the Indian Penal Code. sometimes the accused gets bail just because the police are not able to file a charge sheet within 90 days. Due to the lack of comprehensive law on mob lynching currently, courts have to deal with many sections like 302, 304, 323, 34, 144, etc. of the Indian Penal Code. The main issue that arises here is that because of the too many sections aggrieved party has to prove the crime in every section. Something else is that each part has such a large number of points of reference to refer to, which makes genuine Law powerless enough to comply. Due to a large number of accused and the insincerity of the police charge sheet not timely filed. In the current legal system, there are many loopholes available that’s why there is a need for a comprehensive law on Mob Lynching so that victims can get justice within the stipulated time.
- The convict received the protection of the politician and his vote bank:
Day by day a lot of illegal organization is being established. The purpose behind the establishment of these organizations is to stop cow slaughtering, to stop inter-caste marriage and many organization works for the Hindu awareness, Love Jihad, caste politics and increase hatred in society.
It is the job of the police to stop cow slaughtering, so the police do not do this, the mob takes the law into their hands and lynch the people in the name of cow slaughtering, marrying their choice is a fundamental right of the citizen, but mob lynches the couple because they married inter-caste. All these types of organizations become very active during elections and start showing the seeds of hate in society. This kind of work helps the crowd in a way that reduces the crowd’s fear of the law. The crowd always thinks that we have the protection of politicians.
One of the dynamic examples regarding the protection of politicians to the mob is the Ramgarh mob lynching. A mob lynched attacked Alimuddin alias Asgar Ansari on the suspicion that he was transporting beef in his vehicle and further his vehicle set on fire. Jharkhand Police took him to the hospital where he died during the course of treatment. In the Ramgarh lynching case, police caught eight accused where the lower court convicted all accused. However, the lack of comprehensive law on mob lynching the Jharkhand High court granted bail to all of the accused. After that Bhartiya Janata Party welcomed all of the accused and Jayant Sinha who is a Member of Parliament welcomed the eight accused by garlanding him.
Welcoming the convicts in this way boosts the morale of the convicts and how can you not deny that the convicts did not get Jayant Sinha’s protection?
- Recent Incident of Mob Lynching
You cannot deny that after 2014 the crime of mob lynchings has increased. India spends has published reports on death by mob in the name of cow slaughtering, trafficking of cows between 2010 – 2017. According to India spend reports out of the 60 incidents 25 Indians Muslims were killed by a mob which is 52% of the total. Almost 97% of the attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Out of the 60 cases of mob attack 30 cases are related to the cow and all the incidents have happened between 2010 to 2017 where the Bhartiya Janata Party government is there. As per India spend reports most of the cases were registered due to rumors related to the Cow slaughter, child trafficking on social media or through the WhatsUp videos and mob lynched the innocent person till the death. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jaipur, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu Kashmir is all these states where the maximum number of mob lynching cases have been registered according to India spend reports. As per the reports of the 60 attacks over eight years (2010 – 2017) 24 attackers were mob or groups of people who belonged to Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, and Gau Rakshak Samitis. 
- Dadri Incident, 2015
On 28th September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq who was a resident of Dadri, Uttar Pradesh was lynched by the mob on the suspicion of consuming beef. The priest of the village announced on the speaker to gathered near Akhlaq’s house. Mob forcefully entered the Akhlaq house and was beaten to death. However, later it came out by the forensic reports that there was mutton, not beef. 
- Junaid Khan
On 22nd June 2017, Junaid was traveling on the Delhi Mathura train with two other brothers. There was a verbal argument between Junaid and the accused regarding the seat-sharing and the accused abused the victims in the name of their religion. After that, a mob stabbed Junaid along with two other brothers on suspicion of carrying beef on a train.
- Alwar Incident
Akbar Khan was a resident of Kolganv in Rajasthan. He used to run a diary. Akbar Khan who was transporting the cow from his native village Kolganv to Ramgarh then mob attacked him on the suspicion of cow slaughtering and beaten him to death.
- Pahlu Khan Case
On April 1, 2017, Pahlu Khan was transporting cattle from Rajasthan to Haryana. However, he had not taken permission from the authority for transportation. The mob dragged him from the vehicle and beaten him by cow vigilantes. Paul Khan died in the Hospital. 
- Tabrez Ansari
Tabrez Ansari was returning from Jamshedpur along with his friends. Mob attacked him on suspicion of stealing a motorcycle. His friend runs away from the incident but the crowd grabbed Tabrez and tied him to a tree and hits him for hours. A video went viral after the incidents where a mob was beating him and forcing him to chant the slogan of “Jay Shri Ram” and “Jay Shree Hanuman”. The crowd was handed over to the police when he fell unconscious. After that Police brought him to the hospital where the doctor declared his death. 
- Inspector Subodh Incident
Subodh Singh was the police inspector posted in Bulandshahar of Uttar Pradesh. The dead body of a cow was found in a jungle nearby. After that 400 people assembled and they marched towards the police station. Mob set the vehicle on fire. Mob snatched the pistol of Subodh Singh and shot him dead. However, police arrested one of the accused whose name was Prashant Nutt a right-wing activist who confessed the crime that I had snatched the inspector pistol and shoot him dead.
- Swami Agnivesh Incident
Swami Agnivesh was a social activist. Swami Agnivesh went to Pakur (Jharkhand) to attend the seminar. Many Right wings workers were opposing his arrival and showing black flags to Swami Agnivesh. When he came out of his hotel the mob attacked him and run away after chanting “Jay Shree Ram”. 
- Palghar Mob Lynching
Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri, 70-Year-old, and Sushilgiri Maharaj 35-Year-old hired a car to travel to Surat from Kandivali. The driver’s name was Nilesh Yelgade 30 Years old. Three people wanted to reach Gujarat via Palghar district instead of the Mumbai Gujarat highway. Some people stopped him near the Gadchinchle village and while the talking group of people attacked him and assaulted him on the suspicion of child lifting.
A few days back local villagers had formed vigilante after rumors that organ-harvesting gangs, child-lifters, and thieves are operating in these areas.
The two sadhus and the driver were killed for understanding the child lifting and organ harvesting. 
- Jammu & Kashmir Lynching Case
On the occasion of Shab-e-qadar, a senior police officer Ayub Pandith was posted near Jamia Masjid mosque. While taking the photographs of the mosque group of people lynched him. 
- Supreme Court Guidelines
In the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union of India, the Supreme Court issued the guidelines regarding mob lynching incidents. In this case, the Supreme Court observed that that “extra-Judicial” acts like “cow vigilantism, lynching in the name of Child lifting should be stopped. The Centre and State should make laws upon them. However, the temporary Supreme Court issued the guidelines to the state such as the establishment of fast-track trials in the lynching cases, victim compensation, deterrent punishment, and strict action against the police officer if they are found guilty.
The three-judge comprises Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, Justice A.M Khanwilkar and D.Y Chandrachud suggested the Parliament frame the law against Mob Lynching and until the Parliament law is made, the guidelines will remain in force.
- The state has a responsibility to appoint a senior police officer which will be not below the rank of police superintendents as nodal officers in each district. These officials will set up a team to be helped by one DSP-rank official for taking measures to eradicate lynching and mob violence. The special task police will have a responsibility to collect intelligence reports on those who are involved in spreading violence, fake news, provocative statements.
- The state government has a responsibility to gather information about places like districts, villages, where incidents of mob violence have taken place in the past. The states will do the identification within three weeks from the date of the judgment.
- The nodal officers have a responsibility to hold customary gatherings (at least once a month) with the local intelligence units in the districts and station house officers to recognize the behaviour of vigilantism and mob violence.
- The DGP of the state or Home Secretary has a responsibility to hold meetings with all the nodal officers and state police intelligence heads.
- All cops should guarantee the dispersal of crowds that tend to cause brutality or lynch in the clothing of vigilantism or something else.
- The union home department will work with the coordination of the state home department for law enforcement in a particular area and will take the initiative to prevent mob violence and lynching on the grounds of caste or community.
- The DGP will give instructions to the SPs on police patrolling in sensitive areas.
- The central and state home government has a responsibility to make aware of the citizens through radio, television, or any means of communication about the serious consequence of lynching and mob violence.
- The Central and State have a responsibility to curb all such types of offensive and hatred videos and other such material that spread hate in society from social media platforms.
- The police shall register FIRs under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code.
- From time to time the centre will issue directions to the state to handle the situation and to take appropriate measures when any incidents happen.
- It is the responsibility of the police station to to file a FIR as soon as possible after receiving complaints of mob violence and lynching.
- After filing the FIR, it is the responsibility of the Police station to immediately inform the nodal officer regarding the incident so that no one harasses his victim’s family.
- The investigation of the incident will be monitored by the nodal officer and nodal officer shall be duty bound to investigate the incident in proper way without biasness or pressure and filed the charge sheet within the time limit.
- It is the responsibility of the state to give compensation to the victim’s family considering the nature of bodily injury, loss of earnings, psychological injury, and expenses incurred on legal aid and medical expenses.
- The case related to the mob violence and mob lynching will be haired in designated courts in each districts and court will hear the matter on a day to day basis. Court will have to conduct the trial within six months.
- If anyone found guilty then trial court will give maximum sentence according the IPC provisions.
- If witness and public prosecutor apply the application in the court regarding the protection of the family, witness life threatened then as per the application the court will take a strict action and will order the protection of the witness and victims family.
- The victim and deceased family will be given ideal notification of court proceedings, or victims or the next of kin deceased shall receive free legal aid if he or she chooses.
- Existing Laws on Mob Lynching in India
Due to the lack of codified law on mob lynching in the country, currently, the case related to mob lynching or mob violence is dealt with by the Indian Penal Code.
If any incident of mob lynching happens then the police register the FIR under section 302 of IPC which deals with the punishment related the murder, Section 304 of IPC which talks about the punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Section 325 of IPC, which defines the punishment for causing grievous hurt to a person voluntarily, section 34 of IPC which states the punishment regarding the acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention, section 120B of the IPC which defines the punishment regarding the parties who are participating in a criminal conspiracy together.
- Has any State passed a law on mob lynching?
There is total three state in the country who has passed the mob lynching law in their state. Rajasthan, Manipur, West Bengal has passed the bills that dealt with the lynching but these state are yet to be cleared by the president.
Rajasthan has passed the Rajasthan Protection from the Lynching Bill 2019. If any person is convicted by the court where lynching led to the victim’s death, then the convicted person will get life imprisonment and a fine between Rs 1 to 5 lakh whereas if the victim suffers grievous injuries, ten the bill prescribes up to ten years of imprisonment and fine between Rs 25,000 and Rs 3,00,000.
It merits to be noted that Manipur state has also passed the Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill which recommends rigorous life imprisonment in cases where the lynching of the person leads to death.
Followed by Rajasthan Manipur, West Bengal Assembly has also passed the bill on mob lynching law which is “West Bengal Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019”. The bills provide the provision of a death sentence if any person has been convicted. If any person is involved in the assault and injury of any person then the person will be convicted for three years and there is the provision of compensation to the victims. There shall be a Nodal officer who will monitor and coordinate the prevention of lynching.
However, due to the lack of president assents the bill is still pending and by which state is still dealing the case of mob lynching with the law of IPC.
VII. Supreme Court Cases
In the case of Arumugam Servai v, the State of Tamilnadu, the Supreme Court had directed States to take disciplinary action against the concerned officials wherever they did not prevent the incident, despite having prior knowledge of it.
In the case of Tahseen s. Poonawala v. UOI Supreme court had laid down three guidelines which is a preventive, remedial and punitive measure to deal with the cases related to the mob lynching and mob violence. Further, Supreme Court stated that Parliament should come with the law on mob lynching and till the time law is not made police station will follow these guidelines to curb the lynching cases in the respective state.
In the case of Mohd. Haroon and others v. UOI,  a writ petition was filed in the Supreme court about the riots happening around District Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. There was communal tension in the city which resulted in forcing people to abandon their homes out of anxiety and fear. The petitioners, in this case, claimed that the local administration instead of enforcing the law allowed the congregation to take place negligently and also failed to monitor its proceedings. Further, it was also held that the victims of mob lynching cannot be discriminated against based on the community or any religion. The relief to the communities must be given in terms of rehabilitation and compensation. The Supreme Court also observed and stated that it is the duty of the State Administration in the association of relevant intelligence agencies belonging to both Centre and State to prevent the communal violence happening in every part of the State. If at all any officer responsible for maintaining law and order in the state is found negligent, he shall be punished by the law.
- The parliament should come up with new law on mob lynching or they should enact a new law keeping in mind supreme court guidelines regarding the mob lynching so that the guilty can get maximum punishment by the court and convicted officer or a politician whose negligence led to mob lynching should also be severely punished.
- There is a need to draw a line regarding the liability of the crowd or if the crowd is part of the mob then they should be equally liable and parliament should make a separate offense regarding this.
- Mob lynching cases should be executed by speedy trial there should be a time-barred limit to the trial court to in a time limit you have to give justice to the victim. If the trial court thinks that there is a need for inquiry regarding the investigation then it should investigate within a specified limit and submit its report to the court.
- To prevent the number of lynching’s, the government should establish a constitutional body whose only job is to end the case of lynching’s as soon as possible and the victim can get justice on time.
- The government should assist victims with free legal aid or the government should bear all the expenses of the lawyer if they choose a lawyer of their choice.
- The government should provide police protection to the victim and his family until the convict goes behind bars or he faces the risk of his life.
- A scale should be made by the government regarding the compensation of victims and that compensation must be met within a set time limit.
- A Government should allocate a separate fund for the advertisement and make people aware that if a mob lynch someone in the name of any rumour then the mob can get harsh punishment. These types of advertisements can be done by Radio, Television. Nukad Natak. Or sticking the poster in the village or where the number of mob lynching incidents is high.
- Police need to be held responsible. In many cases just because of the police negligence or political pressure they cannot file the charge sheet on time whereby the court acquits the culprits only on the grounds of lack of evidence
- The Government should make machinery whose only function is to stop the fake news, fake videos, and fake messages and if anyone does this, then punish him with harsh punishment.
In the 21st century where the government is targeting to make India of 5 trillion economies by 2024 and each year DRDO send their satellite on another planet where a group of people is ready to kill the person in the name of Cow slaughter, for eating beef, on the suspicion of theft and child trafficking, for not chanting Jay Shree Ram and many more. The supreme authority like Prime Minister, who is in the power has a responsibility to give a different message to those who are killing people in the name of beef, on the suspicion of cow slaughter, on the suspicion of theft to convince them that there is no one above the law and if you do such type of crime then you will get punishment and you do not have an authority to get political protection. The preamble of the constitution talks about that India is a secular, liberty, equality, fraternity, democratic country, and such type of incidents question arises on the words written in the Preamble.
The Rule of Law says that the state is governed, not by the ruler or the nominated representative of the people but by the law. Basically, Rule of law means that no one is above the law. But in the current scenario, the thing is different, and the mob is taking the law into their own hand and the mob is working as a judiciary instead of doing the work of the judiciary. The number of extrajudicial killings is increasing day by day. Everyone should respect another religion, culture, and belief. We cannot deny the involvement of politicians and political parties in an increase in the number of mob lynchings. Politicians and political parties act like sweet poison in the society whose main motive is to spread communal hatred in the society. There is a need for separate legislation on mob lynching in India to enact to protect the victims of mob violence.
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