“बस ये लगना चाहिये जैसे गुस्से में आकर भीड़ ने डीसीपी आज़ाद को मार दिया है, उसके बाद क़ानून बेबस| क्योंकि भीड़ की ना कोई सूरत होती है और ना कोई नाम (This should appear that angered mob killed DCP Azaad. Afterwards, law will be helpless as neither mob has a face nor a name)”. These are the dialogues of actor Sunny Deol-starrer ‘Indian’ released in 2001.
What if the ‘mass or majority’ turns barbaric and violent! There is no definition of ‘mob lynching’ in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), only a bit murky one exists under Section 223 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc). One of the major reasons for the recent mob lynchings is peddling of rumours and fake news like a person eating beef or trafficking a child. Another reason is a failure of the police to contain and prevent such incidents.
At a time when everyone has easy access to mobile phones, it is surprising that no one takes the initiative of calling the police whenever such instances of mob violence occur. As a result of spike in hate crimes and mob lynchings, people across the world have started to see India as an ‘intolerant’ country where Hindu majority is asserting their aggressive nationalism. The government claims that western media is trying to defame the country. However, the question is that why authorities are giving those media houses reasons to denigrate India.
While this is a serious concern for the country, it isn’t as difficult to address as believed by few people.
WhatsApp has now fortunately updated its settings ‘only for India’ that any message, text or multimedia, can be forwarded only five times. This will have considerable impact on the peddling of fake news through WhatsApp. However, there is no remedy for the rumors spread through word of mouth. People themselves will have to take up the responsibility of rjecting any information that isn’t backed by facts.
Also, reforms in the police have become indispensable than ever before for India. Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar PradeshPolice, has been fighting for the police reforms since 1997 and in 2006 Supreme Court ordered the parliament to implement seven ‘must do reforms’ in the police. Sadly, to keep the police within their claws, the politicians have been reluctant in bringing these reforms. The primary objective of the police is to address the internal menaces of the country. One of the important recommendations of Mr Prakash is to bring the police under Central list, rather than keeping it under the ambit of state.
While the major responsibility of dealing with this predicament lies with the people, there is a pressing need for sturdy implementation of law. Police will also have to find a golden mean as DCP Azaad did in the movie Indian.