KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government has prepared a draft Bill to protect citizens against lynching. The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019, is likely to be tabled in the Assembly on Friday. The Bill prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and fines ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
The Bill defines lynching as “any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (group of two or more individuals) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other grounds.”
As per the legislation, if anyone is found guilty of publishing, communicating and disseminating any offensive materials, either physically or electronically shall be liable to imprisonment upto one year and fine upto Rs 50,000.
In case of death triggered by lynching, according to the Bill, the accused can be punished with life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh. The director-general of police of the state will act as nodal officer to monitor and take measures to curb incidents of lynching. The Bill also called for witness protection and compensation for the lynching victims adding that any allegation of threats or inducement to the witnesses must be brought to the notice of court within 24 hours.
According to sources in the state government, the decision of introducing a new act to prevent lynching after a series of incidents of mob violence took place in the state recently. “Rajasthan government introduced a similar act last month to save people from mobs. We followed their model to prepare the draft Bill,” said an officer.
Mamata takes aim at Central govt
West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, challenged the BJP-led Central government to arrest her for dissenting against its decisions and policies. She was addressing students on the occasion of the ruling party TMCP’s foundation day on Wednesday in Kolkata.Mamata castigated the saffron camp for using Central law enforcement agencies against her party MLAs and MPs. She said she would continue to raise her voice against the government and dared it to arrest her for doing so. She also said that the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to give `1.76 lakh crore to the Centre, shows that reserve money of the central bank is also been exhausted due to the rulling party.