On Friday last, a Muslim man Rakbar Khan was lynched by a group of self-styled cow vigilantes in a village near Alwar, Rajasthan. This incident took place even as the Centre and the Supreme Court were grappling with the issue of mob lynching in several parts of the country. Friday's incident in Alwar resulted in the Congress and BJP leaders trading accusations through harsh tweets and statements.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that 'hatred has replaced humanity in his (Modi's) brutal New India". Union Minister Piyush Goyal hit back tweeting "You (Rahul) divide society for electoral gains and then shed crocodile tears. Enough is enough. You are a merchant of hate". Several other senior ministers like Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad too hit back at the Congress.
Last evening, the Centre constituted a Group of Ministers to deal with rising incidents of mob lynching. It also formed a high-level committee, headed by Home Secretary which will submit its recommendations to the GoM headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The committee will study the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court last week, speak to state governments and then submit its report to the GoM.
All this will surely take time, but for the time being, one immediate step can be taken. All leaders of major political parties like the BJP and Congress, should stop issuing statements on this issue, because their remarks can ignite passions and encourage 'mobocracy'. For example, if an MLA says that a war has been waged against cattle lifting and cow slaughter, and if another leader speaks on 'Hindu Taliban' , and if a third says that those advocating cow protection are 'terrorists', then all such remarks can give rise to undue tension, and this must be curbed at the earliest.
It has been noticed that in most of the mob lynching incidents, fake news spread through social media play a major role, and government alone cannot stop this. Local leaders will have to step in and timely prevent such mobs from going on a rampage. Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook have taken some steps to curb the spread of fake news, but there has been no favourable impact on the ground level. It is surprising that fake news circulate fast and mobs gather to bash up the victims, but the local police intelligence units are blissfully unaware of this. The local intelligence machinery has to be on its toes to prevent such incidents from occurring.
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