Mob-Lynching over religious hysteria. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mob-Lynching over religious hysteria.

It requires a special environment to overcome the inhibitions to carry out horrific crimes like a public lynching. 

Mob Lynching is often associated with the religious hysteria, however, while discussing the term it should be mentioned that the mob lynching is not only related to the religion, but a major part of mob violence has been influenced under the religion. 

Easy spread of rumors using social media, incapable administration, and ignorant crowd are the fine ingredients for the ‘mob lynching’.

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In recent years the crimes related to mob lynching have been associated with the cow protection, rumours of children being kidnapped, making someone chant ‘Rama – Rama’ and so on.


Incidents of Mob Lynching

On June 27, 2017, a mentally ill woman was lynched in West Bengal after a 14-year old child went missing in the area with and rumours of Bangladeshi child abductors being active in the area.
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In June, 2018, a mob in Assam beat two young men to death – again on the suspicious on being child lifters. During the assault, the victims pleaded with the assaulters that they were Assamese – even listing their parents’ names but the mob did not listen.

May 2018 saw multiple mob attacks in Andhra Pradesh of Hindi-speaking people as false rumours spread that child abductor gangs from Bihar and Jharkhand were active in the state.

Another incident took place on 25th May 2019, a Muslim man was beaten by a group of men at Jacubpura in Gurugram. He was told to remove his skullcap and chant jai Shri ram.

27 deaths have been recorded due to this in a year 2018 according to some news reports.

On 22nd May 2019 brutal incident happened in Madhya Pradesh. Self-proclaimed cow vigilantes allegedly thrashed three Muslims, including women, over suspicion that they were carrying beef.


 The victims alleged that they were forced to shout 'Jai Shree Ram' Slogans. The incident came to light after a video went viral.
However, the majority of crimes have been done by cow- vigilant groups against Muslims.

How many people have been affected by Mob- Lynching?

There are no government statistics of hate crimes in India but there are a few media outlets that have attempted to track them.


According to IndiaSpend, there have been 117 gau raksha-related incidents of violence in India since 2015. As per Quint, there have been 88 people killed in lynching since 2015 across India.


Over Ten states have been affected by such a heinous crime for months since 2018.


Why has Mob- Lynching increased in our society?

In past incidents of violence fuelled primarily by fake WhatsApp and Facebook messages.

Fake warning messages of child-kidnapping or organ harvesters have been spread over WhatsApp.

The victim of lynching mostly are the villagers. Some of whom may be using smartphones for the first time moreover, people are less educated less aware in a rural area.

The rumor and the mob move faster than the police. The rumor wins over fact often.
After investigating no case of kidnapping was recorded-- or even suspected -- in any of these lynching spots in the three months leading up to the attacks and ironically, in Tripura a man was lynched who was hired by the state government to spread awareness against precisely such rumours.

Few cases of cow vigilante violence came out in a few years. Mob attacks in the name of "cow protection" as cattle slaughter is banned in the Indian states it also has emerged as a threat.  

Cow vigilante group claiming to be protecting cattle have accused some people from minorities and schedule caste/Schedule tribe of cattle theft or slaughter and targeted violence against them leading to a number of deaths. 

Cow protection groups see themselves as preventing theft, protecting the cow or upholding the law in an Indian state which bans cow slaughter.

The Silence of Political Class has been the main factor of Mob Lynching

Despite the rising mob violence, the political class and bureaucracy continue to remain a silent spectator. 

The human rights observers, feel political class in behind the rise mob lynching since most of the people who are ruling the country retained or captured the power through the political system which aggressive and violent.

Besides, they have built their political career propagating violence against minorities, where the mobs feel empowered and strong. The political class, apart from their customary condemnation, they avoid visiting the victims or their surviving families.

What makes it easy to lynch a human?

For a human being, killing a fellow human is not easy. Expert says that if someone is not a sociopath, psychologically disturbed or doesn't have empathy and moral feeling, there are strong inhibitions against killing others.

It requires a special environment to overcome the inhibitions to carry out horrific crimes like a public lynching. 


Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon of the University of Waterloo, who developed a model to understandehumanizationon and conflict, explains : "It's unfortunately true that not all of us but most of us have the capacity to behave in such horrific ways if circumstances are appropriately organised".

By ' appropriately organised' circumstances, professor Homer indicates the process of dehumanising the victim which he thinks is a necessary condition for a severe conflict.
Dehumanising happens when someone de-individuates and caricatures members of the out-group and does not regard them as participants of his/her moral community.


Professor affirmatively described the lynching and hate crimes in India - he said a person who carries out a harmful or illegal act ceased to recognise the victims as the member of their moral group or as a fellow human being, which legitimises their cruelty against the victims.

In cases where violence is religiously motivated, often something similar to dehumanisation happens.


What mindset mobs carry?

People who commit religiously-motivated acts of violence l often see themselves as greater than ordinary human beings, and this creates a kind of distance between them that allows violence to take place.

When human dehumanise other human being, he thinks of them as lesser than human. That is, he thinks of them as having a lower status than ourselves, which gives him permission to treat them as lesser beings. 

The attackers in most of the lynching cases say themselves as "higher " beings and the victim outside their group as "lower" beings who may be abused or killed.





Making lynching videos seem a trophy for attackers

Mob lynching and hate crimes in modern India are followed by a disturbing new trend which resembles the lynching of black Americans in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century US. During 1880-1930, thousands of black Americans were lynched by white Americans on fictious accusations of raping white women or stealing cattle. 


The victims were killed in most horrific ways to inflict maximum pain and suffering. The dispersed body parts of the victims were collected by the attackers as trophies.
Despite of body parts in India the attackers film the horror on their smartphones and upload it onto social media. 

There are several videos of such attacks being circulated in the social media by the attackers themselves. While sharing the horrific videos, the attackers neither have remorse for committing such as inhuman act of violence nor do they fear the law of the land. Rather, they feel proud of their horrendous act and want to keep the memory of the event alive.


Government's initiative

Government has addressed and willing to take action to the lynching report from across the country. Central government on its part has asked states to appoint nodal officer in each district to prevent such incidents of mob violence and lynching.

Now ministry of electronics and information technology has told WhatsApp to take "remedial measures" to prevent proliferation of these fake messages. In this era of fake news, to rapidly spread panic, anger and riots between two community. 

This happens in different ways across the world but in India-- the problem is getting serious as India has vast diversity of different culture and religion. Preventing fake messages on social media is not just a right solution. 

There should be other ways to spread awareness with the help of administration and government especially in remote areas where people act radically and kill people.

Even after Government initiatives why mob-lynching incidents are growing day by day?

Lynching and mob violence are no longer just a law and order problem. These are not happening in a political vacuum. There is an urgent need to examine that why members of one group consider the members of another group less than human? why they don’t behave like a human?

Is it for political benefit?

There is a little doubt that lynching and hate crimes are happening with state approval. The ruling political class has been using it as one of their political instruments- Sometimes used as a direct tool to influence their constituency to garner political benefits and sometimes conveniently ignored to protect their support base for keeping political power intact.

Conclusion

Such inhumane incidents create chaos in the country. The government should bring strict laws to control such absurd crime. proper mechanism is needed urgently there have been several cases happened in the month of May 2019.





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