Congress president Rahul Gandhi has launched yet another attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, alleging that the incidents of lynching in parts of the country were the “direct consequence” of “politics of hatred and communal polarisation”.
According to the Congress president, such politics is “irreparably damaging our social fabric” and that the recent incidents “have sickened our nation”.
Taking to microblogging site Twitter, the Congress chief said, “The politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric. The brutal lynchings across India that have sickened our nation, are the direct consequence of that kind of politics.”
The politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric.
The brutal lynchings across India that have sickened our nation, are the direct consequence of that kind of politics.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 7, 2018
This comes amid rising incidents of lynching in parts of country, primarily in Maharashtra. In the latest such incident, five members of a nomadic community were beaten to death by a mob at Rainpada village in Dhule on July 1. The five persons were killed on suspicion of being child lifters.
According to Maharashtra police, there have been 14 incidents of mob attacks fuelled by rumours in the last one and a half months in the state. At least 10 people lost their lives in the incidents.
Following uproar over such incidents, the Union government asked platforms like instant messaging app WhatsApp to take immediate steps to end the menace of spreading messages that impact the country’s law and order situation.
The IT Ministry released a statement saying, "Instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation are being circulated on WhatsApp. The unfortunate killing in many states such as Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and west Bengals are deeply painful and regrettable."
It added: "While the Law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content are equally a matter of deep concern."
Reacting to it, WhatsApp apprised of steps to curb abuse. In its response, WhatsApp said that it's "horrified" by the "terrible acts of violence", and outlined steps being taken by the company to curb abuse of the messaging platform.
"We believe that false news, misinformation and the spread of hoaxes are issues best tackled collectively: by government, civil society and technology companies working together," said WhatsApp in a letter to the ministry.
Meanwhile, the government also faced heat with Union minister Jayant Sinha welcoming and felicitating eight men who were convicted for a lynching incident in Ramgarh in Jharkhand. The convicts had met Sinha at his residence after their life sentences were suspended by High Court.
The move drew massive condemnation from opposition forcing Sinha to issue a clarification. Defending himself, he said that the Ranchi High Court has suspended the sentence of the accused and released them on bail. "When these people got bail, they came to my house, I wished them well. Let the law take its own course in the future, the accused will be punished and those innocent will be set free," Sinha said.
(With agency inputs)