To stop mob lynchings GoM bats for preventive steps, not strict law

Group of ministers thinks more effective measures to deal with mob violence and lynchings, now sources say that preventive measures are to be strengthened to arrest recurrence of such incidents instead of introducing stringent punitive provisions in the law.

The demand for a separate law on mob-lynching, providing death penalty as the maximum punishment, may be difficult to concede as law and order is an exclusive domain of the states. Also, lynchings involve a mob and it may not be easy to pinpoint as to who initiated the violence or acted as the mob leader. “So, it is debatable as who in the mob responsible for lynching a person should be held accountable and made to face the death penalty,” said an officer.

Many lynchings targeted the victim on the basis of fake news and social media posts circulated via internet-based messaging services such as WhatsApp. The focus should be on strengthening the preventive regime by controlling the circulation of fake news, ensuring that such information is flagged by the state police without delay and holding heads of social media companies directly accountable for rumour-based posts going viral.

A government functionary in his statement said. “Rather than having a separate anti-lynching law or strengthening punitive sections of existing laws like CrPC to make mob lynching a separate offence carrying stringent penalty including death, such incidents can be tackled by enforcing more effective preventive measures.”