Condemning mob lynching incidents in the country, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, July 19, put the onus on state governments, saying they were responsible for maintaining law and order.
He blamed fake news and false information on social media for such violence, glossing over the role of persons affiliated to his own party, BJP, in many such incidents.
Dissatisfied with his statement, the Congress walked out of the House.
Singh was addressing the Lok Sabha on the second day of the monsoon session of Parliament. His statement comes days after the Supreme Court came down hard on Centre and state governments for mob lynching incidents, giving them specific directions on measures they have take within a month to curb the trend, and a day after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor raised the issue in Lok Sabha.
In Zero Hour, Congress raised the issue of attack on Swami Agnivesh in BJP-ruled Jharkhand, asking asks why no arrests had been made yet. The opposition party demanded that the Centre frame a law to tackle mob lynching.
The home minister said that the Centre has requested social media operators to install checks in their system to curb the menace.
“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.
“Such incidents are unfortunate, I have spoken to the chief ministers personally to ensure the perpetrators are arrested,” Singh said, according to media reports.
Expressing their dissatisfaction with the home minister, few members of Congress staged a walkout.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said “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
Speaking in Lok Sabha at the start of the monsoon session on Wednesday, Tharoor, whose office in Thiruvananthapuram had been attacked by BJP youth wing workers, had raised the issue, saying: “Those who are carrying out mob lynching and mob killings are attacking the ground rules of our democracy.”
“Their victims in recent months have included intellectuals, minorities, various citizens of the country. Yesterday even Swami Agnivesh was attacked… these are people who have expressed dissent against rising tolerance against today’s India and they are being attacked physically,” he said.
“I strongly urge the prime minister to break his silence on the behaviour of his partymen,” he said, adding that PM Modi should take action “against anti-national elements indulging in lynching and mob frenzy.”