Year of the Lynch Mob in PM Modi’s India: New York Times

Jayant Sinha recently honored the accused involved in a lynching incident. Photo: Change.org
Jayant Sinha recently honored the accused involved in a lynching incident. Photo: Change.org

India is at present struggling with a surge in mob related violence that has claimed many lives. In the last seven months, there have been over 70 mob attacks, where close to 33 people have been killed.

By Rakesh Raman

The New York Times (NYT), the world’s top newspaper based in the U.S., has said in its new article that “it has become the year of the lynch mob in India.”

The NYT article is referring to the recent incident when Jayant Sinha – who is a BJP leader and Indian minister in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government – honored the accused involved in a lynching incident.

In its article, NYT says that in India dozens of people have been beaten to death, often in cold blood, by crowds of bored young men who alternate between booting someone in the head and taking a selfie.

The article adds that the suggestions of whom to kill spread via social media, especially WhatsApp, and one seems able to stop them.

In this atmosphere, according to the article, some conclude that Jayant Sinha might actually win votes for his maneuver.

Sinha, however, offered his clarification. “Let me once again emphasize that mob lynching, in fact all forms of violence, is completely unacceptable and should be punished with the full force of the law. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy. I reject all types of vigilantism,” Sinha tweeted Friday in his defence.


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Meanwhile, an online petition has been launched against Jayant Sinha on a public website change.org. The petition addressed to the President of Harvard University Lawrence Bacow demands the withdrawal of Sinha’s Harvard Alumni status.

It states that Jayant Sinha, a minister in the Indian Government and an Alumni of Harvard University, recently garlanded and honored convicts accused of lynching Mr. Alimuddin Ansari.

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“These actions by the Minister have shocked the nation and brought disrepute to the great institution. As a responsible citizen of this country and as an Alumni of Harvard, I strongly condemn these actions and ask the Harvard University to withdraw his Alumni status,” suggests the petitioner Prateek Kanwal.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also urged people to sign the petition. “If the sight of a highly educated MP and Central Minister, Jayant Sinha, garlanding and honouring criminals convicted of lynching an innocent man, fills you with disgust, click on the link and support this petition,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

According to the petitioner, India is at present struggling with a surge in mob related violence that has claimed many lives. In the last seven months, there have been over 70 mob attacks, where close to 33 people have been killed.

These attacks, according to the petitioner, fueled by deliberate rumor mongering, are more often than not targeted at members of minority communities, Dalits, tribals and women to spread fear and to polarize the electorate for political gain.

One such case was the lynching of Mr. Alimuddin Ansari, on 29th June, 2017, in the state of Jharkhand in the east of India, on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his car.

Eight men who were convicted in this case were recently released on bail, pending the disposal of their appeal against their conviction in a higher court.

Mr. Sinha, who is at present a minister in the Indian Government, in a show of solidarity with these convicts, was photographed honoring them with traditional Indian garlands and sweets, the petition informs.

Nearly 23,000 people have already signed the petition.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman