Lynching & the law

The Supreme Court order calling for a special law to deal with lynching sends a strong message about the growing phenomenon of mob violence. From vigilante violence targeting cattle traders in the name of cow protection, it has taken a new turn. While the former was organised vigilantism, the recent spate of killings seemingly comprises impulsive and unplanned acts of violence, fuelled by rumour and panic-inducing social media messaging. Last year the apex court reminded the Centre and the States they cannot remain silent while vigilantes take the law into their own hands in the name of cow protection. It asked all States to appoint nodal officers in each district to curb mobs. While the incidence of lynching and violence committed by self-styled gau rakshaks appear to have reduced since then, the killing and attacks on those mistaken to be child-kidnappers have had a disquieting rise. The police say the circulation of videos and other messages about child-lifters through messaging

Dangerous law: on Israel’s ‘nation state’ law

The ‘nation state’ law passed by Israel’s Parliament amid strong protests by Opposition lawmakers, has raised concerns about its commitment to peace in the region. The legislation, which will become one of Israel’s powerful Basic Laws that have constitutional status, lays down that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. The law strips Arabic, the first language of 1.8 million citizens, of its national language status; states that Jerusalem, “whole and united”, is its capital; and vows to “promote and encourage” the establishment and consolidation of Jewish settlements, which it sees as a national value. Supporters of the Bill say it is aimed to boost Israel’s Jewish identity and will not discriminate against minorities. But the reality looks more complicated in Israel and the occupied territories. As it is, the Arab community, which makes up a fifth of Israel’s population, faces discrimination when

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