The Menace of Mob lynching in India
By Shreya Verma
Lynching is execution of a person without proper legal trial or procedure. Mob lynching is set execution by mob that is, set a people who are strangers to each other. If such people are strangers, then why would the act as Union? Reason for the same is given by Prof. Singhel and his book "the Criminal crowd and psychology of sects" he says that a member of a mob by their" sudden Mob Lynchingorganisation caused by Spark of passion spring up from one of them, electrifies this disorder in such a manner that the mob acts like a single being".
India, which is well known for its tolerance is Losing its characteristic trait with time. Youth of today is growing seeing violence as a part of solution of a problem in many situations leading to de-establishment of nonviolence tolerance principle that were instated since ages. Recently, many cases of mob lynching have emerged in states like Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan etc. A recent case of 21 years old Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand who was beaten up to date for charges of theft.
Supreme Court in Tehseen S. Poonawala vs. Union of India (2008) held that "horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be new normal way of life". It has issued guidelines to state to prevent the acts of mob lynching:
(1) to constitutes a Special Task Force by Nodal Officer, who is not below the rank of Superintendent of Police and his work shall be to prevent instances of dissemination of offensive materials through different social media and other means.
(2) to empower of jurisdictional police station to lodge immediate FIR in cases of such incidences and the Station House Officer shall immediately intimate the same to Nodal Officer who shall ensure the safety of family members of the victims.
(3) nodal Officer must ensure investigation, prosecution of such cases to be carried on and charge sheet to be filed within the prescribed time and trial conducted within a period of 6 months.
(4) dissemination of consequences of taking law in Hands by State/ Central government.
However, despite these guidelines issued a decade ago the toll of mob lynching death in 4 years have reached 266 till June 2019.
Some of the reasons for mobocracy/ ochlocracy may be determined as follows:
- Mob lynching is not always wise to show pad for psychopath they are the people amongst us but are derived passionately by such anonymity that they lose their personal individuality, leading to form a collective identity.
- Extraordinary intolerance, ridiculous pride, sense of responsibility and Illusion of being all powerful and loss of sense of derived by exalted emotions of the mob are the key features of mobocracy.
- When derived by such emotions person loses personal sense of moral is strength and reduction of individual reasonability.
- In his book, " less than human: Why we demean enslave and exterminate others", Homer-Dixon has stated that, " those who commit more violence and guided by group loyalties consider themselves as higher and others less humans. This mentality is also what leads to form of common will between the lynchers against the victims.
Understanding the present scenario, it is the need of the Hour that mob lynching should be made a separate crime as they are now covered under the provision of unlawful assembly under section 149 of Indian penal code read along with crying which the mop together has actually done, for example, culpable homicide or grievous hurt.
Recently Uttar Pradesh government has come up with a draft bill which proposes seven years of imprisonment for the offenders and three years to the police officers who do not perform their duties.
There is a need for central law to prevent the atrocity which along with providing punitive measures should also deal with the factors which are the product of human strength and behaviour that leads to such a characteristic and also provide institutional or psychological or reformative help to the offenders.