Mob frenzy has assumed dangerous proportions in the country. Blood-thirsty mobs are killing and maiming innocent people, merely on the suspicion that they are thieves, dacoits, molesters, child-lifters or cattle-smugglers. Almost all the victims of mob violence come from lower socio-economic strata. Just as most rape victims are from castes which are socially and economically backward. An analysis of the cases registered in police stations would show that women from dominant and powerful castes rarely become victims of rape, though one may find cases of their abduction.
Mob violence has its own sociology. Sometime ago, three people were lynched in Chhapra, Bihar. They were suspected to be cattle thieves and were apparently caught in the act. All three belonged to the ‘Nat’ caste – two were Hindus and one was a Muslim. On 19 July 2019, Mohammed Arman, a Pasmanda Muslim, was beaten to death at Mahua in Vaishali district. The mob suspected that he was involved in a bank heist. Then, on 22 July 2019, an OBC, Rampravesh Yadav, was killed by a mob over a land dispute.
These are only the recent incidents. They make up a long list, mostly thanks to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In Gumla district of Jharkhand, four tribals and Dalits were beaten to death by a frenzied mob on 21 July 2019.
Mob lynchings draw nationwide attention when the victims and the perpetrators are from different religions. But when the trigger is the victim’s caste, the incident gets only local coverage. On 22 July 2019, a Bihar assembly session had to be adjourned as the opposition persisted with its demand that the issue be taken up for discussion immediately. Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary turned down the demand after which the opposition members created a ruckus, leading to the adjournment of the House.
When the House resumed business, Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Ramnuj Prasad, raising the issue of mob lynchings, asked why only vulnerable sections of society, namely minorities, Dalits and OBCs, were victims. He noted that all the victims of Chhapra lynching were Nats. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did not comment on the issue. On his behalf, minister and the ruling Janata Dal (United) Chief Whip Shravan Kumar told the House that the government had taken a serious view of the issue and was taking necessary action.
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