Reiterating that 1984 Sikh riots was the biggest incident of lynching, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the central government is taking the incidents of lynching “very seriously” and might bring a law, if necessary, to stop it.
“I want to make it clear that the government is not just concerned but has taken lynching incidents very seriously,” Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha after opposition members raised the issue days after a cattle farmer was killed allegedly by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar.
Rajnath Singh said the biggest incident of lynching had occurred in 1984 when thousands of Sikhs were killed in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
“But, the incidents of lynching should not be politicised. The Supreme Court has also given its observations on lynchings,” he said.
The Home Minister said the government on Monday set up a high-level committee and a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by him to check mob lynchings and suggest measures to stop mob violence in the country.
He said the Home Secretary-led committee would give its recommendations to the Group of Ministers within four weeks.
“After deliberations, we will take a decision as to what needs to be done to take strong action against the incidents of lynchings. We will also bring a law if that is required,” he said, adding that such incidents have been happening for the past many years.
In the officials committee to be headed by Home Secretary R.K. Gauba, the Secretaries of the Departments of Justice, Legal Affairs, Legislative and Social Justice and Empowerment will also be members.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot are members of the GoM.
The GoM will submit their recommendations to the Prime Minister.
During the discussion, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the government should appoint a sitting Supreme Court judge to probe the incidents of lynchings.
Referring to the Alwar lynching case, Kharge said: “There was a direct involvement of police in the death of the victim (Rakbar Khan). The Gau Rakhshaks who lynched the victim were followers of the local MLA (Ramgarh MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja).”
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan interrupted and said no allegations should be levelled as the investigation was on.
“Since the state (Rajasthan) government is not responding, we demand that the Centre should also appoint a sitting Supreme Court judge to probe the incidents of lynchings apart from the high-level committees,” he added.
Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M. Thambi Durai said even though law and order is a state subject, the states need the support of the Centre to modernise the police staff in order to tackle such incidents.
CPI(M) MP Mohammed Salim said a trend of mob justice on the streets is increasing based on rumours, cow protection or child-lifting.
“Such an environment has been created in the country for the past 10-12 years and the situation is worsening. We need to accept the fact. Such incidents of hatred are spreading across the country and it is very dangerous. It is not just a Hindu-Muslim issue or a matter of cow protection, even Swami Agnivesh was attacked.
“If we garland the convicts in mob lynching case and protect them… such incidents are also happening in West Bengal and Tripura, which had never occurred earlier,” said Salim. (Agencies)