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Normalising lynching

At a time when the central government claims that it is taking steps to control mob lynching, Union Minister Jayant Sinha felicitated eight people convicted by a lower court in the Ramgarh lynching case in Jharkhand in June last year. The Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation has shocked the nation by garlanding the eight accused at a public function after the Jharkhand High Court granted bail to them. The eight were earlier convicted by a fast track court for lynching a man named Alimuddin Ansari on the suspicion that he was transporting beef in his vehicle. The vehicle was later set on fire.

Jayant Sinha, an alumnus of IIT Delhi with a string of degrees from international universities of repute including the Harvard Business School is not expected to throw caution to the winds and to crave the kind of populism that other BJP MLAs and MPs thrive on. Sinha is obviously pandering to vote bank politics but at what cost. That a public event was organised to honour the gau rakshaks – notorious for their lynch-mob mentality suggests a new normal that is dangerous because it also sets a new precedent. The Twitter world is ablaze with condemnations of Sinha’s actions. For the Congress Party this is yet another opportunity to flog the BJP. Just a few days ago the Supreme Court had observed that state governments should be held accountable for any lynching that happens under their watch. The apex court said that mob lynching and vigilantism are crimes no matter what the motive is and should be dealt with by relevant sections of the law.

A fast track court had earlier found the 12 people accused in the Ramgarh lynching case, guilty and awarded death sentence to 11 of them since one is a minor being tried in a juvenile court. The High Court has only granted bail to the 8 people, hence the case is sub-judice. These same people may be found guilty by the High Court too then what would Jayant Sinha’s stance be? Electoral politics is all about appeasement but not by publicly condoning lynching, for, that is the message that Jayant Sinha and others in the BJP are sending out – that it is alright to kill people on mere suspicion of carrying beef. Ironically such lynching are rampant in BJP ruled states be it Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra or Assam. This does not bode well for India      


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