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Mamata Govt to Table Anti-lynching Bill in Bengal, Accused to Get Life-term, Fine up to Rs 5 Lakh

A TMC leader said the legislation would aim to ensure that 'constitutional rights of those who are vulnerable are protected and acts of lynching are punished.'

News18.com

Updated:August 28, 2019, 11:53 AM IST
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Mamata Govt to Table Anti-lynching Bill in Bengal, Accused to Get Life-term, Fine up to Rs 5 Lakh
File photo of Trinamool Congress supremo and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
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The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal is planning to introduce an anti-lynching bill in the Assembly with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and fines ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

Officials said that the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019 is likely to be tabled in the House on August 30. It defines lynching as “any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (group of two or more individuals) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other grounds”.

A TMC leader told News18 that the legislation would aim to ensure that "constitutional rights of those who are vulnerable are protected and acts of lynching are punished."

In case of a lynching that leads to death, the accused can be punished with rigorous life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh, officials said. The bill, officials added, would see the State Director-General of Police appointing a coordinator to act as a nodal officer to monitor and take measures to prevent incidents of lynching.

The official said, "The nodal officer will be in charge of continued assessments through intelligence inputs to identify potential points that could lead to violence. The lynching incidents will not be investigated by an officer below the rank of an officer and it also calls for witness protection, compensation of lynching victims." The official added that any alleged threats or attempts made to induce or influence witness would be required to bring to the notice of a court within 24 hours.

The Bill also asks for a fine of up to Rs 50,000 to be imposed for “publishing, communicating or disseminating offensive material by any method – physical or electronic” and a maximum of three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh for those who create “a hostile environment for a person or a group of persons."

As per the Bill, the state will provide protection to victims, who can also choose any advocate from the legal aid panel under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. The state will also provide free medical treatment and compensation as per the Compensation Scheme, The Indian Express reported.

Earlier on August 5, the Rajasthan Assembly passed a Bill on providing life imprisonment and a fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to those convicted of mob lynching.

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