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Mob-Lynching: Horrendous act of mobocracy

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India's shocking war within, a challenge Govt. must confront

By: Dar Javed

The wave of lynching, and a near-normalization of the scenes of crowds flogging Muslim men, has marked a new low for India’s democracy. Almost every other week there’s news of a faceless mob publicly flogging a Muslim man that ends at lynching.
Shockingly, this is the new normal in Gandhi’s India!

As a method, lynching is an act of unspeakable horror. There is an absolute asymmetry of power. It is a mob versus an individual, who is often defenseless and begging for life. Ever since Sharif Uddin’s lynching in Dimapur, the spate of lynching has continued unabated throughout the country. In most of the cases, the victims of lynching and hate crime belong to marginalized identities including Muslim, Adivasi, Dalit, Christian and others. Allegations of cow smuggling, beef eating, love jihad as well as of crimes like rape and sexual violence make it more convenient to orchestrate lynching and mob violence. The available data shows that in recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the number of lynching and hate crimes in cow-related cases and most of the victims are from the Muslim and Dalit communities.
Statistics prepared by ‘India Spend’ reveal that in the last seven years, 28 people have died in mob lynchings, and of these 24 people lynched have been Muslims, and that is a huge 86% of all. If the statistics do not sound convincing enough, then there are individual instances that prove the hatred against minorities as the sole purpose of these lynchings.

The irony is that, in 21st century India, the perpetrators don’t collect the body parts of the lynched victims but they film the horror on their smart phones and upload it onto social media. There are several videos of such attacks being circulated in the social media by the attackers themselves. While sharing the horrific videos, the attackers neither have remorse for committing such an inhuman act of violence nor do they fear the law of the land. Rather, they feel proud of their horrendous act.

Main Reasons of Lynching in recent times:

‘Editorial insights’ on India has mentioned the following points as main reasons for recent cases of lynching –

  • These hate crimes flourish most of all because of the enabling climate for hate speech and violence which is fostered and legitimized ,which frees people to act out their prejudices; and the impunity assured by state administrations to the perpetrators.
  • Senior ministers and elected representatives frequently come out in open defence of the attackers, charging the victims with provoking the attacks.
  • The messaging is unambiguous: Not the lynch mob, but the victim, and the community to which he belongs, are guilty.
  • The current phenomenon of lynching to be what intellectuals describe as “command hate crime”.
  • By this underline, first, that these are hate crimes, not ordinary mob violence, as these mostly target identified minority communities and disadvantaged castes. And second, that these crimes are tacitly or openly encouraged by senior leaders of the political establishment.
  • The members of the lynch mob in most incidents of lynching video-tape the act, and upload the video-tapes. To record one’s crimes and display these on the social media reflects a brazen confidence that you will not be punished for your crime, and even if you are nabbed, you will be a hero for the ruling establishment.

On July 17, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed incidents of mob-lynching in India as “horrendous acts of mobocracy” and directed Parliament to draft new legislation to effectively deal with the incidents across the country. The apex court directed the police to register an FIR under Section 153A of the IPC against those who indulge in such activities. While the Court asked the police to do everything in their power to ensure that social order was maintained, in the Alwar lynching case, the cops first took the cows to safety and only subsequently took the victim to hospital. It makes one wonder if the police and government are deliberately acting in defiance of the apex court’s order. I, for one, refuse to believe the theory that the poor and uneducated indulge in such acts. It is becoming increasingly clear that such criminal acts are executed thanks to political collusion, at least of the ideological kind.

In the recent years, the cases of mob lynching have increased exponentially, which is an alarming signal for the social harmony of the nation.
In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the worshipper of non-violence, it’s very disconcerting and heartbreaking to see the innocent people being falling prey to the people with vested interests and a particular agenda claiming to be the protector of religion, custom, and society.

Dar Javed is a postgraduate in Craft Management design and Entrepreneurship and can be mailed at [email protected]

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