Mamata Govt To Table Anti-Lynching Bill In Bengal; Accused To Get Life Term, Fine Up To Rs 5 Lakh
The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government is likely to table an anti-lynching bill in the Legislative Assembly that proposes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
"The bill aims to protect the constitutional rights of vulnerable persons and prevent incidents of lynching. It also proposes action against those involved in perpetrating the crime," a senior TMC minister told news agency PTI.
As per the current legislation, if anyone is found guilty of publishing, communicating and disseminating any offensive material either physically or electronically, shall be liable to imprisonment up to one year and fine up to Rs 50,000, the minister said giving a broad outline of the bill.
"Whoever contributes or enforces a hostile environment on a person or a group of persons shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to three years," the senior TMC minister said. The legislation will pitch for a jail term, which may vary from three years to life, for those involved in
assaulting and injuring a victim of mob violence.
In case of death, those responsible for the incident would be punished with rigorous life imprisonment and fine up to Rs 5 lakh, he said. "As per the bill, the state director general of police will appoint a coordinator, who will act as a nodal officer to monitor and take measures to prevent incidents of lynching," the minister added.
As per the objects and reasons of the bill, the Constitution of India guarantees every individual a right to life and personal liberty and equal protection of law. However, in recent times, there have been trends towards mob lynching in different parts of the country.
The opposition Congress welcomed the move, but cautioned the government against misusing it. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said it is a ploy by the TMC government to settle political scores with the BJP workers and leaders.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati expressed serious concerns on Wednesday over mob-lynching incidents in Uttar Pradesh targeting women in the name of child theft. ""In Uttar Pradesh, mob lynching in its new frightening form is targeting innocent women. There is terror among the people because of innocent women being harassed/murdered on charges of child theft. It would be better if the state government takes strict legal action against such wrong elements," Mayawati said in a tweet.
BSP chief's tweet comes two days after a 50-year-old woman was thrashed on the suspicion of child theft in Shringar Nagar in Etah district. In a similar incident of lynching, a 5-year-old female resident of Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh was beaten up by some people on the suspicion of child theft earlier this week. Four persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.
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