In her Written Submissions filed before the Supreme Court in the petitions highlighting rising instances of cow vigilantism and lynching, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising has asserted that “lynching of Muslim in India have become a badge of honour for the perpetrators”.
Ms. Jaising, in fact, alleges that the substantial increase in the number of lynchings in India over the last 3-4 years has been encouraged by the BJP, and calls for the immediate intervention of the Court to put an end to this. She also blames the State for failing to protect the citizens’ rights, including the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 and the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14, and submits,
“These frequent episodes of lynching demonstrate that the state has not only completely failed to protect its citizens but also refused to take action against the perpetrators of these crimes.”
Ms. Jaising’s written submissions trace the history of lynching from the time when it was prevalent in the United States as a measure to impose segregation and subordination of African-Americans. Submitting that there have been more than 70 cases of targeted lynchings between 2014 and August, 2017, she then asserts that the failure of the State to protect the victims has violated the citizens’ fundamental rights. The exponential increase in such violence has therefore been blamed on the State, contending,
“Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India make the right to life and equality salient. However, in the recent past, self-proclaimed cow protectors have taken law unto themselves and have targeted the citizens of the minority community on the false pretext of possessing cows for slaughter/eating beef/dressing in a particular manner.
The exponential increase in targeted violence and mob violence over the last 3-4 years points to the failure of the State Governments and also of the Union Government to prevent the said violence leading to the inference that there is a dereliction of duty on their part.”
Further, Ms. Jaising relies on data to claim that the lynchings are targeted, asserting that the victims are primarily identifiable as Muslims/Dalits or are known to be Muslims/Dalits. She submits, “More specifically, Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on cow vigilantism over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents. 97% of the attacks targeted on Muslims/Dalits centering on cow vigilantism were reported in the last 3-4 years. These attacks include mob violence, attacks by vigilantes, murder and attempt to murder, harassment, assault and even rape.”
She, in fact, points out certain “common features” in these lynchings as well:
She finally calls for invocation of Article 256 of the Constitution of India, which spells out the executive power of the union as extending to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose. She calls on the Centre to utilise this provision to direct the States to put an end to such incidents.
She submits, “It is apparent that the lynchings of Muslims/Dalits in India, which have occurred in almost every state, is a countrywide phenomena and necessarily attracts the implementation of Article 256 of the Constitution wherein the Centre takes the responsibility to direct the States to immediately put an end to the targeted violence which will only lead to a state of anarchy wherein the citizens of India at large without any authority will take law unto their hands and cause chaos.”
The written submission was drawn by Advocates Warisha Farasat, Rudrakshi Deo and Hafsa Khan and filed by AOR Shadan Farasat.