Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that a law will be enacted, if necessary, to tackle rising incidents of mob lynching, amid an outcry by opposition parties over such incidents.
The opposition parties, mainly the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, lower House of parliament, during the Zero Hour and demanded that the government take action to curb lynching incidents which claimed the lives of 32 people across nine states in the last one year.
Responding to the criticism, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government has taken the issue seriously and would enact a law, if necessary, to curb incidents of lynching.
In the latest incident of mob violence, a 28-year-old Muslim man was lynched on suspicion of being a cow smuggler in Rajasthan state’s Alwar district on Friday night last.
On Monday, the Home Ministry announced setting up of two high-level committees at the level of top bureaucrats and senior cabinet ministers to suggest ways and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.
While the Group of Ministers is headed by Rajnath Singh, a committee of Secretaries is led by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
The two panels were set up almost a week after the Supreme Court asked the central government to enact a law to deal with incidents of lynching and take action on mob violence. The Group of Ministers will consider the recommendations of the high-level committee of bureaucrats.
The GoM will comprise Ministers for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Maneka Gandhi. The Group of Ministers will examine the report of the bureaucrats’ committee and submit its own recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government’s setting up of the committee and the GoM came almost a week after the Supreme Court expressed serious concerns over a series of lynching incidents, that claimed the lives of 32 people in nine states across India in the last one year,and termed as “horrendous acts of mobocracy.”
The apex court also suggested a new penal provision to effectively deal with mob lynching and agreed to consider a contempt of court case against the Rajasthan government next month for allegedly violating the top court’s directive in an earlier case of lynching in Alwar case.
In the latest incident, a Muslim man was lynched in Alwar district of Rajasthan state on Friday on suspicion of cow smuggling.
The Home Ministry statement said the “government is concerned at the incidents of violence by mobs in some parts of the country. Government has already condemned such incidents and made its stand clear in the Parliament that it is committed to upholding the rule of law and adopting effective measures to curb such incidents.”
It pointed out that “as per the Constitutional scheme, police and public order are State (government) subjects. State governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order and protecting the life and property of the citizens. They are empowered to enact and enforce laws to curb crime in their jurisdiction.”
Accordingly, the federal Home Ministry has, from time to time, issued advisories to states for maintenance of public order and prevention of crime in their areas of jurisdiction. An advisory on addressing the issue of lynching by mob on suspicion of child lifting was issued July 4 and earlier a similar was issued in August two years ago on disturbances by miscreants in the name of protection of cow.
New Delhi Correspondent