Mob Lynching Current Affairs - 2020

International Religious Freedom Report

The US Government recently released the International Religious Freedom Report, 2019. India has raised its concerns over the report. This was because the report alleged India with discrimination and attacks against religious minorities in the country.

What were the concerns raised in the report?

  • The religious freedom conditions in India is experiencing downturn. The national Government of the country has used its majority in the parliament and has instituted national level policies that is violating religious freedom.
  • The report had also raised concerns over scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir
  • It also criticized the Citizenship Amendment Act saying the act is a fast track to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The report also condemned cow slaughter laws, anti-conversion laws and mob-lynching.

FCRA

According to the report, India has prohibited several internationally funded NGOs. They were prohibited from operating in India since 2010. This was implemented through the amendment of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), 1976. Through the amendment, the GoI can shut any of the internationally funded NGO based on national interest.

Rajasthan Assembly passes Anti-Lynching Bill

Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 was passed by Rajasthan Assembly by a voice vote. Bill was introduced by Shanti Dhariwal Parliamentary Affairs Minister in State Assembly on 30 July 2019.

With passage of Anti-Lynching Bill Rajasthan has become 2nd State after Manipur to have a dedicated legislation that criminalises mob lynching as a special offence. Manipur Assembly had passed a similar Bill in December 2018.

Background

Since April 2017, Rajasthan has witnessed several incidents of mob lynching, when Haryana’s dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes on Jaipur-Delhi national highway.

Features of Bill

Punishment: Bill makes Mob Lynching offence cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offences. Life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs.5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving victim’s death.

Bill makes conspirators for lynching accountable. It specifies punishment for- conspiracy/abetment/aides/attempts to lynch; for dissemination of offensive material; and for enforcing a hostile environment.

Nodal Officer: Bill provides for appointment of a nodal officer of rank of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to prevent lynchings as well as establishment of relief camps in safe zones for victims.

Definition of lynching: Bill defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous/planned by a mob on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, sexual orientation, language, dietary practices, ethnicity and political affiliation.

Criticism: Indian Penal Code (IPC) already have sufficient provisions to penalise offenders, while Bill had changed an important definition by describing just two persons as a mob, thus contradicts related provisions of IPC. Also, Supreme Court had recommended only to Parliament to enact such a law.

Arguments: The subject of Bill was part of concurrent list (both state nad centre subjects) and thus State government has power to bring such legislation. Also, definition of mob as 2 or more persons is defended in context that 2 people had ability to grievously harm 3rd person.

Significance: Bill could become a progressive law, which would promote social harmony.