Millennium Post

Stop mob lynching at once

The recent spate of mob lynching that has seen nearly 30 people killed in many incidents across the country is showing no sign of going away. In the latest incident, a 30-year-old mentally-challenged woman was attacked by a group of villagers in Madhya Pradesh's Singrauli district with sticks and axe. Her dead body was found next day in a nearby forest. The villagers suspected her to be a child-lifter and the police have found that a rumour was spreading on WhatsApp for several months that some child lifters are active in the village and surrounding areas. This comes only a day after the brutal killing of a 28-old dairy farmer from Haryana's Nuh district, Rakbar Khan, who was mercilessly beaten by a group of cow vigilantes in Alwar district while he was walking the cows that he had bought only hours ago back to home. Despite so many incidents of mob lynching in recent months and the Union Home Ministry writing to state governments and law enforcement agencies to remain extra vigilante about rumour-mongering, the attitude of Rajasthan police, which reportedly took more than three hours to take a severely injured Rakbar Khan to hospital, shows how casually the police force is taking the issue of mob lynching. It is this unproductive and casual approach devoid of the promptness for which the police force is known that encourages people to take the law into their hands. The unending spate of lynching incidents is a clear indicator that people are losing faith in the police functioning. Apart from an ineffective policing, what is shocking about these incidents is the level of brutality that people are resorting to without a care for the consequences of their action. In case of the mentally-challenged woman in MP's Singrauli district, after she was attacked by a group of villagers, she ran for her life but the accused surrounded her near a school and attacked her again. Later, they dragged the body of the woman and threw her into a nullah in the jungle. The police have said that the accused have confessed to the crime and the weapons of the crime have been seized.

Reacting to the lynching of Rakbar Khan, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "Policemen in #Alwar took 3 hrs to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just 6 KM away. Why? They took a tea-break enroute. This is Modi's brutal "New India" where humanity is replaced with hatred and people are crushed and left to die." While the Congress President has aptly captured the agony and helplessness of the peace-loving people of India on the series of the lynching incidents that have rocked the conscience of the nation, he could not help from invoking the political side of the story. The recent spate of mob lynching finds its genesis in the cow vigilantism that was witnessed soon after the Narendra Modi government came into power at the Centre. Though top BJP leadership denounced such barbaric activism on part of some right-wing outfits well in time, they have not been able to sensitise the administration against the rise of such repulsive trend in due measure. In a vast country like India where people of all social strata live harmoniously and move freely across the country, the government is duty-bound to ensure a sense of safety and security among the people. This can be achieved only by a pro-active police administration governed by a vigilant and strict government. Surprisingly, after nearly 30 deaths in different incidents of lynching across the country in less than three months, the government has not penalised any police official or taken any new measures to instil confidence among the people about their fears of child kidnapping. If taken in a positive spirit, Rahul Gandhi's criticism of mob lynching calls for some immediate measures by both the Central and state governments to address the issue which is showing all signs of becoming an endemic one.

Before India lapses into a lawless land where instant justice is meted out by a blood-thirsty mob for a perceived wrong, both the government and people at large need to wake up to that sad possibility and take remedial measures. In the 21st century, when India aspires to lead the world from the front, the repeated incidents of mob lynching is a blot on its image, which must be corrected at once. This is also a basic law-and-order necessity that must get the top priority. Let's not forget what the world thinks about India after reading news about such incidents.

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