The author of this blog is Anukriti Rastogi, pursuing B.A LLB Hons' from Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

We Indians are living in a vicious, debilitating era of premeditated violence and mob lynching. ‘Lynching’ has been a common phenomenon in the recent past resulted due to communal violence, Dalit –killings, or the protests against the Citizenship amendment bill,2019, or the National population register. Any act of violence, mindless killings is itself so excruciating and barbarous that it shakes our souls from within. Inhuman killings have become a norm to satisfy one’s alter ego. Mob lynching consequences are not well sought and often results in the loss of innocent lives. People are driven by their own doctrinal views without even acknowledging other humans. The grotesque nature of lynching has been rendered unethical by the Supreme court in Re Kangaroo courts. Section 149 of the IPC gives the provision of prosecuting the mob exceeding 5 people and causing death. Lynching has been an issue to ponder over. Though only countries like the United States Of America had the fervor to declare mob lynching as a federal crime after a long dreadful tenure of 120 years. Such a novel concept as it may sound ‘ Mob lynching’ has been tearing India’s sovereignty apart since innumerable days. Was stone-pelting in Kashmir not come under the purview of mob lynching? Did the gruesome killings of the Sikhs not considered lynching? The answer is deeply buried in the much-celebrated history of India. Though mob lynching has no justification, people consider it as an outburst to the inability of the state- machinery. India is the witness of innumerable cases of lynching which are yet to be heard or buried deep. A common adage, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ has been pertinent in cases like ‘Pehlu Khan lynching case’ or ‘Priyadarshini Mattoo case’.

The recent outrageous event at Palghar district of  Maharashtra region brought about a furor in the society and established the extremism of fake news. Two Sadhus were lynched by a vigilante group pertaining to a rumor that circulated on WhatsApp that alleged members of the minorities affected with Covid-19 have been approached to surreptitiously sneak in the Hindu communities and were organ traffickers disguised as sadhus.  These sadhus were traveling to Surat, Gujarat. Men armed with axes and sticks after spotting a lone car charged over the innocent Sadhus without even contemplating the consequences. The sheer depravity of the whole crime has lit up commotion in the whole country. The whole instance establishes the lawlessness and police apathy. The criminal system glares right back at us for our weakened system. The horrendous event has touched our nerves and stirred our conscience. The victims Sushil Giri and Kalpavriksh Giri had been mercilessly beaten and the police was a mere spectator. How lynching has been normalized is an issue of contention is the whole instance. The whole scenario also draws our attention to ‘Fake news’ and disturbing WhatsApp forwards that incite people to act in such atrocious ways. Though the facts and narratives of the whole event have been differently approached, the loss of innocent lives and the brutal act couldn’t be condoned. The heart- wrenching event has sent shock waves around the country. Though the chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav  Thackeray made it crystal clear that the whole incident didn’t have any communal color and was based on fake WhatsApp circulation, the mere ruthlessness of the whole act couldn’t be forgotten. It has become a blot on the map of India.

The deepening silence about the ferocious lynching has brought awe and contemplation in our minds. The lawlessness and the stoical attitude of the Police force have been overlooked and not a word of condemnation has been heard. It aptly describes the lacunas of the criminal justice system. The merciless act of mob lynching has shaken our conscience and the visual of the old sadhu clinching the policeman while beaten to death send horror down our spine. But the question that shocked everyone was why the incident that occurred on the 17th  came into limelight on the 19th? Why did the media keep silent until the video circulated over the internet? The silence of the political parties suggested that they considered it as a simple crime story that has been occurring in Maharashtra from time to time. Was this done to support some political agenda or exploit someone’s ulterior motive hasn’t been clear till yet? The disturbing silence has raised a number of suspicions regarding the whole incident. Is it just a hate crime or mass anger which resulted in such horrific acts of events. The blame game has started without figuring out the intent of the criminals or the agenda. BJP gave its statement after a long pause. The narrative of ‘saffron’ has gone missing in the statement.RSS leaders didn’t come forward in a long time. What was the main reason behind such soundlessness is yet to be discovered. The issue spread like wildfire on social media and the right-wing activists are demanding NIA intervention but Prime Minister Modi’s silence is a lot more perturbing. Was this silence a consequence of a conspiracy theory of the ill-fated incident? The police force justified their stance by stating that the sadhus broke the lockdown due to Covid-19 but what was a mob of numerous people doing there to attack them.  It's mysterious to notice how a mob of about 300 Renowned editors in chief of Republic Bharat,  Arnab  Goswami has accused Congress leaders of remaining silent about the mob lynching. He questioned the Congress if they would have adopted the same approach if the victims were Christians and the saffron wearing sadhus following the  Sanathan  Dharma was not as important as them in the first place. These political leaders have kept num which is certainly not a case regarding protests against CAA, Human rights violation, etc. The media’s silence on the grave dereliction of the police force’s duty has caught us by surprise. Even if this act didn’t occur country-wide like the protests against NRC or CAA, the gravity was more, unlike other cases. The differential approach between the Muslim victims and the Hindus were adopted by many media houses.

Mob-lynching is no less than a heinous murder but it is ignored as if it's trivial. The picture of petrified sadhus was a tragic one, cumulative in its horrific details. But what made this lynching more appalling was the reticence about the whole issue. It is vividly mentioned in Supreme court case Nandani Sundar & Ors V. State Of Chattisgarh that state is wholly responsible to prevent any untoward event and mitigate crime but the politics around this event forgot about the inexorable murder of those sinless sadhus. Today Mob lynching still continues to threaten India and its overwhelming to even think that some consider it natural justice.  Murder cannot be justified. Period!