By- Shrey Jain
Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor or to intimidate a group. A recent report by India Spend, basing itself on the content analysis of news reports, concludes that “In the first six months of 2017, 20 cowterror attacks were reported–more than 75 percent of the 2016 figure, which was the worst year for such violence since 2010. The attacks include mob lynching, attacks by vigilantes, murder and attempt to murder, harassment, assault and gang-rape. In two attacks, the victims/survivors were chained, stripped and beaten, while in two others, the victims were hanged.”
According to India Today “, At least 16 cases of lynching have been reported from Tripura to Maharashtra since May 10, the latest being the lynching of five men in Dhule district. These incidents caused deaths of 22 people including a transgender” Social and political commentators have blamed this violence on a rise in socio-political and religious cleavages, a rise of vigilantism and an apparent atmosphere of impunity for attackers.
“The violence started with cow-related vigilantism but it is now building up more violent behavior–from small to big reasons anything could be the trigger,” psychologist Upneet Lalli, deputy director of the Institute of Correctional Administration in Chandigarh, told India Spend.
Videos of people tied and beaten, begging mobs to spare their lives, have been circulating on WhatsApp groups and other social media, affecting people everywhere. Also, Social media is aiding and abetting the process Mob psyche is different from the individual psyche. “When an individual acts, there is a sense of responsibility, but in a mob, there is a dispersion of responsibility and guilt.” The mob justifies its act as heroism to save the community, their identity, their children, themselves.