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US makes lynching a hate crime

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    5th Apr, 2022

Context

United States President Joe Biden has signed into law the first federal legislation that makes lynching a federal hate crime in the country after civil rights groups pushed for such a measure for more than a century.

Background

  • Assent to Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Bill was given by President of US Joe Biden.
  • This law makes lynching a federal hate crime.
  • The passing of this Act is significant as the US continues to be rocked by ‘black rights matter’ movement following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer.

Analysis

What is the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Bill?

  • It makes lynching a federal crime punishable by imprisonment of up to 30 years.

The legislation is named after 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in a racist attack in Mississippi in 1955. 

  • This law expressly terms lynching to be a hate crime.
  • The abovementioned law was unambitiously passed by the US lawmakers with only 3 Republican legislators opposing it.
  • Under this law, an action can be prosecuted as a lynching when a person conspires to commit a hate crime that results in death or serious injury. 
  • It has to be noted that in the legislative history of United States, the passing of an Anti-Lynching Bill was attempted about 200 times.

In 1900, the first anti-lynching Bill was introduced by George Henry White, who was then the only black man in the Congress. 

Lynching in India:

  • In recent years India has also faced the problem of mob lynching.
  • Most common reason for lynching in India have arisen due to cow vigilantism.
  • People getting lynched in most cases are accused of smuggling cattle for slaughtering them.
  • Rumors regarding crimes or wrong committed by a person may also become the reason for him being lynched by the mob.
  • It has been found that in most cases of lynching, the incident was caused due to spread of rumors through social media.
  • People belonging to minority community have mostly been the victims of lynching in India.

Lynching laws in India

  • There is no national law made on mob lynching. Mob lynching is not defined in IPC, CRPC, and nor defined in the constitution.
  • Though there are certain provisions in the IPC, for example-
    • Section 223 (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 states that persons or a mob involved in the same offence in the same act can be tried together.
    • Sections 302 (murder)
    • Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
    • Section 307 (attempt to murder)
  • Which states have anti-lynching laws?
  • Jharkhand: In Jharkhand, the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021 envisages imprisonment for those pronounced guilty of mob violence and lynching for periods ranging from three years to life term, besides fine and attachment of property.
  • Rajasthan: In August 2019, the Rajasthan government passed the 'The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019' providing for life imprisonment and a fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to those convicted in cases of mob lynching leading to victim’s death.
  • West Bengal: In August 2019, the West Bengal Assembly passed 'The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019', proposing a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and fines ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for offences.
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