New Delhi: The government does not maintain specific data on lynching incidents in the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
This comes a day after the Supreme Court had asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching and cow vigilantism, saying "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday had asked the Parliament to see whether a new law can be framed to combat the menace of cow vigilantism.
While the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain any database on violence related to cow vigilantism, IndiaSpend’s database records of hate crimes shows that almost 86 incidents of cow-related violence were reported since 2012 in India.
Over the six years since 2012, 33 people have been killed in cow-related hate violence. The number of people who were majorly assaulted during the cow-related violence incidents stood at 188, while as the number of the people with minor injuries were 81. The total number of victims due to cow-related violence were 288. 37 of these incidents were reported in 2017 alone.
At least five people were killed in cow-related hate crimes in the southern states of Telangana and Karnataka in May this year. In 2017, 11 Muslims were killed in similar incidents of vigilantism across the country, the highest toll since 2010.
Most of these incidents have occurred over the last four years since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) assumed power in May 2014. Only one incident each was reported in 2012 and 2013. Of all victims killed or injured, whose identity was reported in news reports, 56% were Muslim, 11% were Dalit, and 9% were Hindu.
According to the IndiaSpend’s data, 47 of these incidents were reported from the BJP ruled states. The number of such incidents reported from Congress ruled states were 10.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on pleas seeking directions to formulate guidelines to curb such violence, saying no one can take law into their hands. It has put the onus on the states to check cow vigilantism.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said this was a law and order issue and each state has to be responsible.
While most of the cow-related hate crimes — almost 70% — were reported from north India, the attacks have also spread towards the east and south of the India in last two years.
The states that have reported most number of these incidents are Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
In August 2017, Human Rights Watch in its report said that Indian authorities should promptly investigate and prosecute self-appointed “cow protectors” who have committed brutal attacks against Muslims and Dalits over rumours that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef.