Ministers discuss report on lynching

Panel suggests one way to curb mob violence is to hold heads of social media sites accountable

September 06, 2018 01:36 am | Updated 01:36 am IST - New Delhi

 Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at a meeting on Wednesday, discussed the recommendations of a panel set up to suggest ways to check incidents of lynching, officials said.

A committee of secretaries, headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, had submitted its recommendations last week.

One of its key recommendations is to hold country heads of the social media platforms sites accountable and that they have to act in a “time bound” manner. In May-June, more than 20 people were lynched by angry mobs provoked by fake posts or rumours floating on various social media platforms.

This was the first meeting of the GoM and the Ministers were briefed about the recommendations of the committee, a Home Ministry official said.

New clauses

The panel is believed to have recommended tightening the law by inserting clauses in the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure through parliamentary approval.

The GoM was expected to hold further meetings over the next few weeks to finalise its recommendations and would subsequently send them to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a final decision, the official said. The members of the GoM are External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.

SC directive

In July, the Home Ministry had issued advisories to States and Union Territories following the Supreme Court’s directives to check incidents of lynching.

The Centre had asked them to appoint an officer in each district at the level of the Superintendent of Police, set up a special task force to gather intelligence and closely monitor social media to prevent mob attacks based on suspicion that someone was a child-lifter or a cattle smuggler.

In its communique to States and UTs, the Ministry had said such instances of people taking the law into their own hands run against the basic tenets of the rule of law.

“All state governments, UT administrations and their law enforcement agencies are requested to implement the directions of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit,” it said.

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