The Rajasthan government on Tuesday introduced a Bill in the assembly, proposing up to life imprisonment in cases of lynching and naming senior police officers as "coordinators" to prevent such mob attacks.
The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 puts those who conspire or help in the act in the same category as those who commit mob lynching.
If the Bill become law, those convicted of lynching will face "rigorous life imprisonment" and a fine of between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh in case of the victim's death.
The punishment in cases where the victim is hurt will vary -- up to 10 years in prison and a fine between Rs 25,000 to Rs 3 lakh in cases of grievous injury.
The special law will be in addition to the provisions of the Indian penal Code.
The Bill defines a "mob" as a group of two or more individuals.
"Lynching" is described as an act or series of acts 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 and ethnicity.
The state's director general of police shall appoint a state coordinator of the rank of inspector general to prevent cases of lynching, the Bill said.
Every district superintendent of police shall be the district coordinator who will be assisted by a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) for taking measures to prevent mob violence and lynching.
The Bill also proposes punishments for dissemination of offensive material (one to three years in prison), creating a hostile environment (five years) and obstructing the legal process (up to five years).
The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal.
The state government shall provide compensation to the victims under the Rajasthan Victim Compensation Scheme and take steps for their rehabilitation.
If such offences lead to the displacement of the victims, relief camps will be set up at safe locations for them, the Bill proposes.
In the recent past, Rajasthan has seen at least two cases of lynching, allegedly by cow vigilantes.
In April 2017, Pehlu Khan from Haryana was thrashed by a mob in Alwar district on suspicion of cow smuggling. He died in hospital.
In a similar case, Rakbar Khan was beaten to death by a mob of cow vigilantes in July last year in Alwar's Ramgarh area.
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill mentions the Supreme Court's recommendation to enact legislation against the mob lynching.
It said there have been many incidents in recent times, resulting in the loss of livelihood, injuries and death.
The statement said it is proposed to nip the evil in the bud, and prevent the spread of hatred and incitement to mob lynching through this law.
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