Narendra Modi must act decisively to stop lynchings across India
Numbers seldom lie. When they are not tweaked, they can be harbingers of bitter truths. A recent set of data put together by a non-governmental organization has shown that 17 of the 44 incidents of lynching — the new rash that is spreading unchecked across New India — took place in Jharkhand. The figures were compiled over a time period of three years — between May 2015 and December 2018 — and did not include the three deaths that have occurred in the state this year. Put together, the dire statistics reveal that Jharkhand, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has witnessed the highest number of such killings in India.
This, undoubtedly, is a matter of shame not only for the state but also the country. Yet, the prime minister seems to have objected to the criticisms that have been directed at the state for its inability to prevent the killings of minorities by vigilante outfits. Expressing his pain at such violence and equating the spectre of lynching with political killings that are taking place in states ruled by the Opposition, Narendra Modi said that it would be wrong to describe Jharkhand as a ‘hub’ of such deaths. Cold data, unfortunately, points to the state’s repeated failure to check the crime. The prime minister reiterated that ensuring the security of every citizen was a constitutional duty. He must be saddened to learn that significant lapses have been committed by the administration he was defending spiritedly. Such acts of omission — the BJP’s critics allege that they are proof of political complicity — may have emboldened the perpetrators. Among other failures, it has been reported that Jharkhand is yet to implement some of the crucial components of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court to combat the contagion. Accountability is not being uniformly demanded of police officers; designated courts, regular hearings and compensation for victims are rare occurrences too. The real reason for such tardiness has to be the lamentable absence of an administrative will to crack down on criminals. Such political inertia is unacceptable; it must be criticized in the harshest of terms. Censure on vigilantism remains shrill within and outside the nation — the United States of America has been a vocal critic of such targeted violence. Mr Modi must act decisively to stop lynchings across India.