Rajnath Singh blamed the spread of fake news through social media for the mob lynchings. 

Condemning instances of lynching and mob violence, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the onus lies on state governments to ensure they are not repeated in future. Singh also blamed the spread of fake news through social media for the lynchings.

“The lynching incidents happened in the past well. I condemn all the incidents on behalf of my government. Unverified reports, fake news spread through social media is a trigger. It is the state government’s responsibility to ensure that no such incidents take place in the future. Law and order is a state subject. This is why we have requested the social media operators to keep a tab in order to avoid the spread of fake information,” he said in Lok Sabha.

He noted that the Centre had already issued two advisories in connection with the lynchings in the past.  The Congress, however, walked out in protest after Singh’s statement.  The party had moved an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha over the issue of mob lynching.

“The Home Minister’s statement in Lok Sabha on mob lynching was not satisfactory at all, that is why we staged a walkout from the house. This is not a game of ping-pong that states and Centre keep shifting responsibilities,” Congress MP Sashi Tharoor told ANI.

On Tuesday,  the Supreme Court asked Parliament to come up with a special law to deter lynchings, saying “the horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land”. The “recurrent pattern of violence”, it said, “cannot be allowed to become the new normal”.

Passing a series of “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures to deal with lynchings and mob vigilantism, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said “apart from the directions… we think it appropriate to recommend to… Parliament to create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same. We have said so as a special law in this field would instil a sense of fear for law amongst the people who involve themselves in such kinds of activities. There can be no trace of doubt that fear of law and veneration for the command of law constitute the foundation of a civilised society.”

The same day, Swami Agnivesh was assaulted in Jharkhand by members allegedly belonging to the BJP’s youth wing. A purported video of the assault showed a group of men assaulting Agnivesh after he left the hotel he was staying in. Agnivesh was pushed to the ground, his robes torn and turban pulled off.

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