In a population of 1.2 billion which will be doubled as per UNDP’s report by 2027, India will have a diversity of more than 2 billion people and which will have more 400 million Muslims. In 2015, 2 members of BJP introduced private member bills in both the houses of the parliament for a nationalised anti-conversion law. And by some vested groups, they were entitled as Hindu extremists but there is a need for a national anti-conversion law, giving light to the most recent incident in Palghar the law and order of Maharashtra government has been questioned.
Palghar As A Hub of Proselytization
As Palghar was a hotspot for conversions with coercion. “Palghar was a hub of proselytization and conversion activities have been in full swing. Despite several complaints, the state government did not pay any heed. The proselytising groups have been instilling an anti-Hindu feeling among trial’s in these areas,” said a journalist who doesn’t want to be quoted. If this is what was happening in the region then there is a need for national anti-conversion and a national anti-lynching law taking an example of Manipur which has made a law regarding the same.
The incident in Palghar was an absolute disgrace on humanity as the lynch also beat the policemen who came to save the priests. But as stated in the official notices of Maharashtra’s government two Policemen have been suspended as they were involved in the events. So, the most important thing in question is the law and order of the district have been botched miserably.
Mob Lynching- Explained
The question also comes before Dr. Kailas B Shinde who is the district collector and magistrate that how such havoc has happened under his eyes, Palghar has seen many events like these before as it is a hub for conversion of religions. Mob lynching has been defined and certain guidelines were issued by the supreme court for the repugnance for the same in Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union of India (2018). It is defined as a “horrendous act of mobocracy” in precise terms by the Supreme Court. All hate crimes can be penalized under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, relating to foster enmity between people on the basis of religion, race, language and so on, hate plays a chief role for criminalizing but as of the reports it is said that the priests are considered as thieves that’s why they were beaten until death but the reason doesn’t justify the result. It is a very well-established fact that people can’t take the law into their hands, we have law enforcement agencies to provide justice.
State of Obliviousness
The point that whether they were thieves or not is irrelevant, the larger question still remains that why the Maharashtra government is not taking any action. Apart from this, it is an utter shame how the mainstream media is portraying this act. Maharashtra has always been a hub of crime ranging from Bhima-Koregaon violence to several execution activities. The fear that is there amongst most of us is that the assailants may go scot-free without paying any price for the horrendous activity. Coming back to the hypocrisy of the media. There have been instances where the government is directly targeted for acts of lynching, saying that the Central government is spreading communal hatred. Would the reaction of the media be the same had the person lynched been from any other minority community?
Reactions to the Lynch
Apart from the governments failure, it is an utter shame how the mainstream media is portraying this act. Instead of questioning the state government, they are busy spreading fake news.
It is shocking to see such acts happening in the state of the well-known
Bala Saheb Thackrey, a champion of Hindu rights. Uddhav Thackrey has clearly led his father down
It is shocking to see such acts happening in the state of the well-known Bala Saheb Thackrey, a champion of Hindu rights. Clearly it is a case of the utter failure of rule of law and the Thackrey government is responsible for it. Uddhav Thackrey has clearly led his father down. The situation called for many reactions across social media platforms. People were appalled by the miscarriage of justice, and even condemned the acts of the media who in a very hypocritical way portrayed the news. Twitter saw trends like Pahalgar Lobby Silence and Pahalgar Lynching which clearly shows the people’s disapproval to the act. It called for various reactions from various leaders. The Shiv Sena spokesperson claimed that “The NCP works with Maoists, Shiv Sena stigmatizing Hindus.” Arnab Goswami, a popular TV journalist was stupefied by the incident and clearly blamed the media for showing its hypocrisy. The act was followed by his resignation from the Editors Guild of India on live television.
In the wake of such a humanly crisis of COVID when the whole country is trying to maintain peace, harmony and unity we see such instances where it forces us to retrospect that what we as humans are doing is right. Really shocking, is a man returning back to Hobbes' 'state of nature': nasty, brutish, homo homini lupus?
(Author is faculty, Law Centre, DU, and Delhi based public policy expert)