The 2015 Dadri mob lynching incident involving Mohammad Akhlaq marked the beginning of a distressing trend, wherein mob violence has become alarmingly commonplace in India. A Reuters report indicates that from 2010 to mid-2017, a total of 63 cow vigilantism attacks transpired, predominantly post-2014, disproportionately targeting individuals from Muslim and Dalit communities, constituting 82% of the victims. This unsettling surge in mob violence is enabled by a tacit political nod, with authorities often disregarding or superficially denouncing such acts.

Causes of Mob Violence:

  • Sense of Impunity: Perpetrators often believe they can evade consequences, a sentiment exacerbated by instances like the police’s passive stance during the Jat reservation stir mob violence.
  • Rumours and Fake News: Amplified through social media, baseless allegations such as the North East child abductor rumors trigger violence against outsiders.
  • Cow Vigilantism: Empowered by tacit support from right-wing political factions, cow vigilantes promote and partake in violence.
  • Judicial Pendency: Widespread delays in legal proceedings foster public skepticism about culprits facing justice, prompting support for mob-driven ‘instant justice’.
  • Rising Intolerance: Intolerance among certain groups further fuels mob violence, widening communal fault lines.
  • Lack of Scientific Temper: Evident in instances like violence by Ram Rahim’s followers, the absence of critical thinking contributes to mob behavior.

Consequences of Mob Violence:

  • Erosion of Law and Order: Mob violence undermines law enforcement’s authority, eroding faith in the criminal justice system.
  • Insecurity: Particularly among minority communities, a climate of fear and insecurity is cultivated, affecting their daily lives.
  • International Reputation: The nation’s global reputation is tarnished as news of such incidents circulates, potentially deterring foreign investment.
  • Communal Division: Mob violence perpetuates communal divides, imperiling the nation’s unity and integrity.

Way Forward:

  • State-Level Initiatives: States like Manipur and Rajasthan are leading by example, enacting dedicated legislation to combat mob violence.
  • Political Condemnation: Political leaders should unequivocally denounce such attacks, sending a strong message against mob violence.
  • Supreme Court Guidelines Implementation:
    • Appoint senior police officers as nodal officers in districts to prevent mob violence.
    • Identify districts, sub-divisions, and villages with a history of mob violence.
    •  Suppress dissemination of incendiary content online.

The proliferation of mob lynching and violence engenders an atmosphere of fear and animosity, incompatible with India’s rich tapestry of diverse cultures. Reinstating reverence for the law and fostering compassion for fellow citizens necessitates a societal transformation. To uphold the nation’s core values, combating mob violence must be a collective endeavour aimed at restoring harmony and unity.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish May 10, 2024