An empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted last year to suggest measures to combat lynchings will continue functioning. It will be headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, said a senior government official.
The GoM had met on two occasions. Since the GoM was position-specific, there was no need to reconstitute it, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The new GoM is yet to meet.
The members of the GoM are External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.
Last week the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the State governments to a plea seeking the implementation of its July 2018 judgment laying down several preventive, remedial and punitive measures to combat the crime of lynching.
On July 24, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy had informed the Rajya Sabha that the “Government constituted a GoM to deliberate” on incidents of lynching and make recommendations.
He said the GoM had since met and was seized of the matter.
A high-level committee headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba submitted its report to the GoM in September 2018, suggesting measures such as tightening of the law by inserting clauses in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure through parliamentary approval.
After the Home Secretary’s report, the Centre held a series of meetings with social media platforms and asked them to take concrete steps to take down content that fuelled rumours and contributed to lynching.
In May and June of 2018, more than 20 people were lynched based on fake posts or rumours of child lifting floating on various social media platforms. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain data with respect to lynching incidents in the country and it is counted among crimes like murder.