Sexual Orientation Part of Rajasthan’s New Anti-Lynching Law

The Rajasthan Assembly recently passed the The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 that prescribes harsh punishment for acts of mob lynching. The Bill prescribes life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.

The new law 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 on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity”.

This is the first such law which explicitly mentions sexual orientation too while dealing with acts of hate crimes or violence. In India, there have been increasing number of cases of mob lynchings, mostly of muslims who were accused of either stealing/smuggling cows, or killing them. Many such mob lynchings have happened in Rajasthan too.

After 2014, 86 per cent of mob lynching cases reported in the country happened in Rajasthan. The state is considered a peaceful state and such incidents have put a blot on it,” Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot said in the Assembly.

At other times rumours of child trafficking or kidnapping have also led to mob lynchings. In Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, a trans person was lynched by a mob over suspicion of being a child kidnapper.

With increasing mob lynching incidents, the Supreme Court of India had asked the Parliament to frame a separate law dealing with the increasing number of mob-lynching incidents.

BJP, which is in opposition in the state, opposed the Bill and demanded it be sent to a select committee for review.

Sukhdeep Singh