The Centre on Monday set up a high-level committee to examine incidents of mob violence and lynchings and submit recommendations on how the challenge can be addressed, ANI reported. The panel headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has been ordered to submit a report within four weeks.
The Centre has also constituted a Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to consider the panel’s suggestions. The Group of Ministers in turn will submit its recommendation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The development comes a week after the court told the Centre that mobocracy cannot be allowed in society and asked it to consider creating a new penal provision to deal with incidents of vigilantism. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had decried cases of lynching and cow vigilantism.
On July 3, the top court had said that it was up to the states to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism. In September 2017, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and state governments to take urgent steps to curb such attacks. The court had asked each state to appoint a senior police official to serve as the nodal officer in each district to ensure that such incidents do not take place.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition seeking contempt action against Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments in the Alwar lynching case on August 20. A man was allegedly lynched in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on the suspicion of smuggling cows, Live Law reported.
A spate of mob lynchings has claimed over 20 lives in Maharashtra, Tripura, Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka since March. In nearly all cases, the mobs seem to have been incited by widely shared WhatsApp videos and messages asking people to beware of child kidnappers. The victims have ranged from innocent people asking for directions; transgendered people; the poor; and the mentally disturbed. The police have since started outreach programmes to quell fake news.