NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union Home Ministry and the police chiefs of Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana to file their replies on a plea in connection with lynching and mob violence against Muslims in the country.
The apex court issued the notice while agreeing to hear a petition filed by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) expressing concern over the rise in mob lynching against Muslims, especially in the name of cow protection.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for NFIW, convinced the apex court that the high courts’ intervention in mob lynching cases was not satisfactory. Nothing would happen if the Supreme Court directed the petitioners to go to the High Court. They would have to go to all these high courts. Sibal then asked what the victims of mob lynching would get? After 10 years, a compensation of two lakhs! This is the case even after the Supreme Court verdict in the Tehseen Poonawalla case. Sibal asked where they should go now and reminded the apex court that this was a very serious matter.
Taking cognizance of the argument, Justice Gavai directed to issue notices to the union home ministry and the police chiefs of the states and told Sibal that he pre-empted judges’ question. The court ordered to send the notice immediately as Sibal had replied in advance to a question as to why he did not go to the high court. Sibal said that when they came to the Supreme Court the last time, they were told to go to the High Court. “So I knew this was going to happen,” he added.
The NFIW has argued in their PIL that mob lynching against Muslims are on the rise, especially in the name of cow protection.
The PIL mentioned several recent attacks on Muslims including the Bajrang Dal atttack on a Muslim daily wage earner for transporting two cows in Maharashtra’s Nashik, a mob lynching over a suspicion of smuggling beef in Bihar’s Saran, violent attack and illegal detention of two Muslim men in Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar and an attack by a violent mob on Haj pilgrims in Kota, Rajasthan. The organisation submitted that these were the incidents of mob lynching in the country in just two months.
The petition submitted that attacks by mobs and gau rakshaks should be seen as a consequence of the false propaganda against the minority community in public events, social media, news channels and films.
The petition states: “A poison of general communal hate and divide has taken over large portions of the populace. The hatred is the pre-condition of crimes of lynching and mob violence. No adequate action seems to be forthcoming on the part of the state authorities to curb this menace. In most cases, minimal action of merely registering FIRs is the only thing that is done by the authorities which seems to be more of a formality than any genuine initiation of the criminal machinery.”
NFIW has demanded a minimum uniform amount of compensation as deemed appropriate be additionally granted to the victims in addition to the amount that may be determined by the respective state authorities after taking into consideration factors such as nature of body injury, psychological injury and loss of earnings and opportunities of employment and education and expenses incurred on account of legal and medical expense.