The Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, was passed by a voice vote despite opposition by the BJP.

The Jharkhand Assembly on Tuesday passed Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, which aims at providing “effective protection” of constitutional rights and the prevention of mob violence in the state.

After including one amendment, the Bill was passed and sent to the Governor for his assent. Once notified, Jharkhand will become the fourth state to bring in such a law after West Bengal, Rajasthan and Manipur.

The Bill defines lynching as “any act or series of acts of violence or death or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence or death, 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 or any other ground”.

The original Bill introduced in the House by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam started with the wording: “Jharkhand rajya ke durbal vyakti ke samvaidhanvik adhikaron ki prabhavi suraksha pradan karne aur bheed dwara bheed hinsa aur lynching ko rokne… (To provide effective protection of the constitutional rights of weak persons and to prevent the mob violence and lynching…)”

During the discussion, BJP’s Godda MLA Amit Kumar Mandal said, “I just want to ask what is the definition of the word ‘durbal (weak)’… Constable Ratan Lal Meena died during the anti-CAA protest (in Delhi). Will his death not come under lynching?…Please replace this word ‘durbal’ with ‘citizen’.”

To this, Alam said the government will accept the proposal and later amended the Bill to replace ‘durbal’ with ‘aam naagrik (common citizen)’.

BJP legislator Amar Bauri said the Bill is an attempt at appeasement politics and is not pro-tribal. He said, “There is a tradition in the tribal community to
resolve various issues arising out of their villages etc…Tomorrow if there is any problem and the tribals want to resolve a certain issue, then a person may be booked for abetting the accused. This Bill is anti-Jharkhand.”

CPI(M-L) MLA Vinod Singh said the Bill was ‘very important’ for the state, but as per the rules, it should be tabled at least five days in advance, and under
special circumstances, three days in advance. He added that the Bill has been made in detail, but “remains silent on compensation”.
However, all amendments, barring that of Mandal, were rejected, and the Bill was passed.

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