Concerned over the series of lynching incidents in the country which started with Karbi Anglong in Assam and the latest being at Alwar in Rajasthan and following the Supreme Court directives to check incidents of lynching, the Centre has asked all States to appoint a superintendent of police-level officer in each district, set up a special task force for gathering Intelligence and closely monitor social media contents to prevent attacks over child-lifting or cattle smuggling suspicions.
In an advisory issued on Monday, the Union Home Ministry had said wherever it is found that a police officer or an officer of the district administration has failed to comply with the directions to prevent, investigate and facilitate expeditious trial of any such crime of mob violence and lynching, it should be considered as an act of “deliberate negligence and misconduct, and strong action must be taken against the official concerned”.
A report which appeared in the The Indian Express quoted an advisory sent to Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police (DGPs) of the States and Union Territories (UTs) as such, “Incidents of violence and lynching by mobs in some parts of the country, fuelled by various kinds of rumours and unverified news, such as child lifting, theft, cattle smuggling, etc., are a matter of serious concern. Such instances of persons taking the law in their own hands run against the basic tenets of the rule of law.”
The report further quoted the advisory as adding,“All State Governments, UT administrations and their law enforcement agencies are requested to implement the directions of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit. A detailed report on the action taken in the matter may please be sent to the ministry at the earliest.”
This is the second advisory to be issued on the matter within a month. The move comes in the wake of the constitution of a Group of Ministers (GoMs), headed by the Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, and a committee, headed by the Union Home Secretary, to suggest a legal framework to check incidents of lynching which has become very rampant in the country of late.
It may be recalled that at Panjuri village in Karbi Anglong (in Assam), two youths were pulled out of their car on June 8 last and beaten to death by a frenzied mob on the suspicion that they are child-lifters. Both the friends (Nilotpal Das and Abhijit Nath) – while heading deep into the jungle towards Kanthilangso – did not even have the faintest of idea that strong rumour was doing the rounds in the area through social media that child lifters were on the prowl.
The duo was mistaken to be sopadhoras (child lifters) for Nilotpal’s dreadlocks, according to police, and was beaten to death by a 250-strong mob. By the time the police arrived and took them to the hospital, it was too late and they were declared dead.
In Tripura too, a series of lynching incidents have shook the State Government. On June 28 last, a man who was hired by the Tripura Information and Culture Department to spread awareness against rumour-mongering was lynched by a mob at Kalachhara in South Tripura district. On the very same day, a hawker from Uttar Pradesh and an unidentified woman were beaten to death on suspicion of being child-lifters in West Tripura.