Not just the lynch-mobs PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 00:00
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Inordinate delay in cops taking victim to hospital suspicious


Given how another incident of lynching was reported within days of the Supreme Court asking the government to be extra vigilant on such attacks, it is evident the problem is way too deep-rooted to be addressed merely by a few directives from the apex court. The killing on late Friday night of Rakbar in Alwar district in Rajasthan, on the suspicion he was smuggling cows, suggests these vigilante groups have no qualms about taking the law into their hands. Whether these persons are backed by local politicians is not confirmed, but the impunity with which they are pursuing their victims is scary. Unless there is some decisive action from the top, the violence cannot be contained. While only the politicians in power can direct the police to act, there are few signs this is happening.

Publicly condemning the crimes means little unless the culprits are punished, but stronger action from the central government—asking the states what actions they have taken, for instance—will help dampen such activity; certainly the BJP’s top leadership needs to firmly counter any disruptive voices when they come from party MPs and MLAs. It is shocking that some leaders of the BJP are trying to downplay the issue, saying there is no hard evidence to show whether the number of lynchings is rising or falling. That is hardly the point; whether or not there are fewer lynchings today than in the past, and whether or not other political parties have abetted such activities in the past, today’s crimes must be stopped.


While it is difficult to verify exactly how swiftly the police is working—and it is true their job is not easy, given how stretched they are—media reports suggest the police took two and a half hours to get the victim to the Ramgarh community health centre (CHC), approximately four km away from the village in Alwar where Rakbar was lynched; the role of this in his death needs to be investigated. And if, in the case of Alimuddin Ansari in Jharkhand, the wrong people were sent to jail and sentenced to death by the lower court, as has been argued by the lawyer of some of the accused, the police clearly had not done its job in identifying the right culprits.

In this case, the lawyer representing those accused of beating up Ansari has reportedly said he died due to police beatings and that the mob had merely roughed him up. Given how complicated these cases have begun, and the feeling that local governments are not doing enough, the central government needs to monitor the probes—unless this happens, no warning from the SC, that the failure to comply with its directives would be viewed as deliberate negligence and/or misconduct, will work.



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