Patna: Despite mob lynching of 14 people, serious injuries to 45 and total 39 incidents of mob lynchings in the past two and a half months in Bihar, the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar is not ready to enact a law to prevent mob aggression.
The Additional Director General (ADG) (police headquarters) Jitendra Kumar and ADG (CID) Vinay Kumar have confirmed the numbers of deaths, injured persons and incidents of lynchings across the state in the last 75 days.
Kumar said that FIRs have been registered against 348 named accused and 4,000 unidentified persons. Till date, 278 people have been arrested on the basis off video footage. “Police will act tough against those involved in mob lynchings and will not spare any one,” he said.
However, several incidents of mob lynchings go unreported, especially in rural areas.
A senior official from the state Home Department, on the condition of anonymity, told NewsClick: “The state government has not made any move till date to enact a law against mob lynchings.”
He said that a law against mob lynchings could help the government, and particularly the police, prevent the increasing mob violence and create a sense of fear. “Police have been regularly appealing to the people to keep away from the mob violence, not to take law into their hands and even have launched campaigns to create awareness nearly two months ago. But all of this has hardly made any difference, as incidents of mob lynching have reportedly increased in the recent weeks,” official said.
The ruling NDA leaders have chosen to keep mum on the issue of the mob aggression. Unlike neighbouring state of West Bengal—that passed a legislation against mob lynching—Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has termed such incidents ‘unfortunate’, but has not shown any inclination to take serious action.
What raised eyebrows was when Nitish Kumar in July downplayed an incident of mob lynching in which a Muslim and two Nats (a Scheduled Tribe) were killed by a mob in a village in Saran district. Kumar refused to term it as a mob lynching. “It should not be seen as mob lynching. The incident occurred when the three were caught red-handed stealing cattle. It resulted in angry villagers beating them up leading to their deaths. It is basically an incident arising due to local development,” he said.
Later on, possible involvement of VHP and Bajrang Dal supporters in this incident had come to light.
This reluctant stand of Nitish Kumar is widely being perceived as a result of pressure by JD(U)’s ally BJP in the state. The BJP-led central government, too, has failed to enact a law against mob lynchings despite hue and cry following dozens of incidents of mob lynching across the country.
Opposition MLAs and MLCs have raised the issue of mob lynching in the state Assembly and have staged protests time and again, but no to effect.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) MLA Mahboob Alam told NewsClick:. “Under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mob lynching incidents have increased but Nitish Kumar is maintaining total silence over the issue.”
Senior RJD leader Bhai Virendar said that the rule of law has failed in the state. “Mob violence is being accepted [as a norm], which shows that there is a mob rule in Bihar. Sushashan or good governance is only on paper.”
A social activist, Ranjeev, said that the state government is helpless, as senior BJP leaders including union ministers are publicly supporting those involved in the mob lynchings in the name of gau-raksha (protection of cows).