New Delhi: The home ministry on Tuesday told the Parliament that only one case of lynching was registered in the country between January 2016 and July 2017.
In a written response to a question by Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare, minister of state for home affairs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, said, “No specific data is maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in this regard.”
He said that as per data furnished by States and UTs as on July 2017, only one case was registered in 2017, in Rajasthan, since the time period in question.
The government further said that ‘police’ and ‘public order’ were state subjects and it was primarily their duty to maintain law and order, and protect life. “The state governments are competent to deal with such offences under the extant provisions of laws,” Ahir told Parliament.
At present, national or state crime data does not distinguish general violence from lynchings, but the NCRB does plan to start compiling data soon. If the plan is approved by the home ministry, the bureau will analyse the causes and patterns behind such incidents.
Independent agencies, however, have compiled the data. IndiaSpend, a data journalism platform, recorded eight lynching deaths in 2016 alone in 24 hate crimes. Muslims accounted for 43 per cent of the victims, followed by Dalits at 34 per cent.
In 2017, the number of such incidents rose to 37 with 11 deaths, it reported. Muslims accounted for 61per cent of the victims. In both years, most victims were males — 74 per cent in 2016 and 83 per cent in 2017.
The ministry did not give details of the case that was registered as lynching in Rajasthan. In April this year, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was killed by self-proclaimed gau rakshaks on suspicion of smuggling cattle in Rajasthan’s Alwar district.
A few months after Pehlu Khan’s killing, Zafar Islam, a 55-year-old CPI (ML) activist was killed in June, allegedly by local municipal officers, when he tried to stop them from photographing women who were defecating in the open.
In November, Ummar Khan, a dairy farmer, was shot dead in Alwar district and his dismembered body was found on the railway tracks. He was taking cows in a pick-up truck to his village in Haryana.