Walk the Talk, Mr PM, Bring in the MASUKA

Written by SabrangIndia Staff | Published on: July 8, 2017

Celebrity Actor Swara Bhaskar’s Online Petition in support of such a law has drawn a stunnig 28,000 signatures in three days

The draft of Maanav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA), a new law to address the menace of mob lynching was unveiled at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on 7 July. Sabrangindia had highlighted how the national campaign pushing such a law had prepared the draft by last week.

The law is being proposed by the National Campaign Against Mob Lynching – founded by youth leaders Tehseen Poonawalla, Shehla Rashid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani – as a response to a spate of lynching incidents that have rattled the nation over the last few months.The drafting committee of the MASUKA, headed by senior Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde, includes Anas Tanwir and Pranjal Kishore.

The draft "bill" criminalises inaction by authorities as well as indirect incitement of mobs through vilification. Under the draft law, “lynching” shall mean any act or series of acts of violence as extra judicial punishment, whether spontaneous or planned, committed to inflict summary punishment, or as an act of protest upon a person. Punishment is a maximum of life imprisonment for the crime, once prosecuted.

Police officers and district magistrates who “wilfully omits to exercise lawful authority vested in him under this Act and thereby fails to prevent the commission of any act of lynching, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. There is also a provision for compensation that will not be less than Rs 25 lakhs.

The draft law also makes specific provisions for the crimes for the “Punishment for Conspiracy or Abetment to Lynch”. “Whoever takes part in a conspiracy or conspires  to lynch another person, or abets an act of lynching shall be punished in the same manner as if he had taken part in the actual incident of lynching.”. Those persons who are proven to have “assisted” the  offenders shall also be due for punishment. Significantly, “Punishment for giving financial aid for the commission of lynching” includes those who “knowingly expends or supplies any money in furtherance or in support of an act which is an offence under this Act, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

According to the draft, lynching is defined as:
Any act or series of acts of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, committed to inflict extra judicial punishment, or as an act of protest and caused by the desire of a mob to enforce upon a person or group of persons any perceived legal, societal & cultural norms/ prejudices.

Senior Dalit leader, Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar, was present at the launch and said that the ‘sanskriti’ of Manusmriti is being revived and it has become necessary to define what lynching is.
We will use constitutional methods to fight mob lynching. If the government backs this bill and Parliament passes it, a message will go across the nation that the state will not tolerate mob lynching.
Celebrity Actor Swara Bhaskar’s Online Petition in support of such a law has drawn a stunning 28,000 signatures in three days.

The Text of the Petition reads:

A 16-year old Junaid, died in his brother’s lap on a railway platform. He was beaten and stabbed to death by a mob, and was called a "beef-eater"and an "anti-national" by the assailants.
Every time I read about a new case of mob lynching, my head hangs in shame. I am a proud Indian and have always believed that our country’s strength lies in its diversity and acceptance of different cultures, religions and languages.

But the recent newspaper headlines are making me feel that the social fabric of our country, the very core of our national identity is under threat. 2017 is on its way to becoming the worst-ever year for violence in the name of cow protection. 20 attacks were reported in the first six months 2017 alone.

I am an actress in the Indian Film Industry. But as a conscientious citizen of India, cannot allow these lynchings to take place in my name. I, along with thousands of young Indians, stood up against this public menace in protests that were recently held across 20 cities of the world.

We, together, said #NotInMyName, to such violence. Next day, PM Modi issued a statement condemning the killings in the name of gau raksha (cow protection). But even after that the lynching and vigilante violence has continued.

Vigilante violence often takes the form of mob lynching, harassment, assault and even gang rape!

African nationals living in India have often been attacked over various kinds of rumors. A student named Nido Taniam from Arunachal Pradesh was similarly beaten to death in my own city, Delhi, in 2014.

Muslims and Dalits who have traditionally been involved in dairy farming, cattle trade, or scavenging activities have become targets of cow vigilantes.

It is important to remember that mob lynching is not an issue that affects any one community. It can happen to anyone. Right now, mobs in Bengal are on a rampage over a Facebook post written by an 11th class student!

Recently an auto rickshaw driver named Ravindra was brutally lynched to death when he stopped a group of people from urinating in public. Ravindra was a fan of Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign.

People living with mental health conditions and transgender persons often become the target of such attacks. A 42-year old woman Otera Bibi, who was reportedly suffering from mental illness, was beaten to death by a mob that suspected her of being a child lifter.

A policeman was recently lynched in J&K. On the other hand, police claims that they could not save Junaid because of the crowd, pointing to both police complicity as well as gradual disappearance of the rule of law. No civilised society can be ruled by mobs.

Lynching does not find mention in the Indian Penal Code. No particular law has been passed to deal with lynching. I believe in a violence-free India. I, therefore, appeal to the lawmakers of our Parliament to enact a strict legislation against mob lynching.

 Sign my petition and demand:
1) The enactment of a Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA) in the upcoming session of the Parliament, which will:
  •  Make lynching a non-bailable offence;
  • Fix institutional accountability - suspend local police officials;
  • Prescribe strict punishment, up to life imprisonment, for those found to be involved;
  • Provide for an independent judicial enquiry
  • Provide for relief and rehabilitation (financial, psychological) of survivors and families;
  • Have provisions to curb the spread of rumors targeting an individual or community, that have an imminence of violence;
  • provide for speedy, time-bound trials;
2) The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) should start collecting data under the category of ‘Mob Lynching’, as no data records exist as of now
3) A dedicated national helpline to report vigilante violence
4) Ban on cow vigilante groups, so that violence is nipped in the bud
5) Police reforms to ensure independence of police, awareness and sensitisation among law enforcers regarding rights of individuals and ills of mob justice/vigilantism.
It’s time for PM Modi to walk his talk. The youth of this nation elected the first PM born after independence. We want him to preserve our social independence.
This petition will be delivered to:
  • Narendra Modi
Swara Bhaskar started this petition with a single signature, and now has 28,013 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about. 22 hours ago it had 25,000 supporters

Because we need jobs not mobs!
Shehla Rashid, India

If mob lynchers thinking doesnt change, nxt election ppl will go 4 a change
Nishant Gauli, India

I'm against mob lynching..
Mohammad Shauzab, Jeddah, India
Top of Form
Manav Suraksha Kanoon or MASUKA demands the government to put into place a legislation to stop the mob lynching. The petition has laid down five demands:
1.    Enactment of Manav Suraksha Kanoon.
2.    Collection of data about mob lynching/violence by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
3.    Setting up of a national helpline to report any cases of mob violence.
4.    Ban on cow vigilante groups.
5.    Police reforms and sensitization of the authorities and law enforcement agencies about the issue.

Narendra Modi: Walk the talk, enact Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA) - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/RkaoySzIDn via @ChangeOrg_India
- Debayan Sen (@debayansen) July 5, 2017

Respected PM @narendramodi@PMOIndia This needs your attention & action sir! We look 2 the elected leader of #Indiahttps://t.co/KZQCYLBcQ7
- Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) July 5, 2017

Actor @ReallySwara's petition to PM: Walk the talk, enact MASUKA (Manav Suraksha Kanun)- a law against mob lynchinghttps://t.co/hwwBaUxW4d
- Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) July 5, 2017

It is a huge embarrassment for the government that it has failed to address the issue of mob lynching that has been haunting the country for a while now. Politicians have taken their own sweet time to react to incidents of mob violence, the same politicians who are otherwise active on Twitter, reacting to international issues.
Twitter users have called out PM Modi for being silent about the many lynchings that happened after the BJP came to power -- that of Mohammad Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Junaid and of the Kashmiri cop Mohammad Ayub Pandith -- and shortly after the Not In My Name protest, PM Modi, while delivering a speech in Ahmedabad, said that "killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' is not acceptable".

Ironically, the same evening a case of mob lynching was reported from Jharkhand. Sadly, it appears that the lynching has become the new 'normal' in India.

If you feel there should be a law against mob lynching in place, check out the petition and sign.