Young leaders seek an end to mob lynching

Warn of nation-wide protest if government fails to act

A group of young leaders with varied political affiliations and social ambitions, divided by their differing economic world views but, as they stressed, united by their commitment to the Constitution, came together on Monday to seek an end to mob lynching in the country and a new law that will make this possible.

They also gently warned the Modi government that if this did not happen by July 11, the first anniversary of the brutal attack on Dalits in Gujerat’s Una, they would launch a countrywide protest starting in Una. They would also ensure that cattle traders and dairy farmers camped outside the Prime Minister’s residence in the national capital with their cattle.

On Monday, former JNU president and CPI member Kanhaiyya Kumar; JNU vice president Shehla Rashid; AISA member, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani; and businessman Tehseen Poonawala, whose brother Shehzad is in the Congress, came together on a common platform at the Constitution Club here to make this announcement.

The group even announced the names of the members of the committee they have formed to draw up a draft law — they include lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Rebecca John, academics Apoorvanand, Nivedita Menon V. Geetha and Manoj Jha (the last named is from the RJD), actress Swara Bhaskar, and sister of missing JNU student Najeeb, Sadaf Musharaf.

A real danger

“We are already in touch with the Opposition parties and chief ministers on the law that we have proposed,” said Mr. Poonawalla, who presided on the occasion. “We want it passed by July 11.”

Kanhaiyya Kumar, clearly the star of the show, said it was sometimes important to throw stones into still water. “...It gets stagnant... we want to stress that this is not a communal issue, but one that concerns every citizen. People are being attacked in the name of identity, on the basis of the food they eat or because of whom they choose to love. They need protection.” Just as it was important to preserve biodiversity, it was equally important to preserve social diversity. “Look at Tehseen, he gives jobs, and look at me, I need a job. Yet we have come together on a common platform,” he said.

Jignesh Mewani explained why they were campaigning for a new law. “People might say that this could be dealt with by the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, which is true. But there are precedents: there was a special law enacted to protect Dalits and tribals (the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act); similarly, we need a special law now.”

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:41:34 PM |

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