30/07/2019 12:50 PM IST

Not Just Sexual Harassment, Now Amit Shah To Head Panel To Combat Mob Lynching

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to respond to allegations that it had not implemented directions issued last year to curb lynching.

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images

Union home minister Amit Shah will head a panel of ministers to combat mob lynchings in the country, a senior government official told The Hindu

The official said Shah would lead an empowered Group of Ministers, constituted last year, to suggest measures to combat lynchings. External affairs minister S Jaishankar, transport minister Nitin Gadkari, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and social justice and empowerment minister Thawar Chand Gehlot are the other members of the group.

The news comes just days after Shah was appointed as chair of a government panel to prevent workplace sexual harassment, a move that sparked outcry on Twitter and among journalists who pointed that he had been accused of using state machinery to keep a young woman in Gujarat under illegal surveillance in 2013. 

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The need for government’s response to lynchings once again made headlines last week after 49 intellectuals and artists, including Aparna Sen, Anurag Kashyap, Ramachandra Guha and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a war cry for lynchings.

Signatories to the letter said they had received threats and backlash for signing the letter.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to respond to the allegation that it had not implemented a slew of directions issued last year to curb lynching and mob violence.

The directions were passed on the PIL by Congress activist Tehsin Poonavall, who had brought the issue of rising incidents of mob lynching and cow vigilantism.

The apex court had asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to sternly deal with mob lynching and cow vigilantism, warning that such incidents may rise like a “Typhoon-like monster” across the country, PTI reported.

The court said there was need to enact a special law as it would instill a sense of fear for law amongst those who involve themselves in mob lynching.

The top court also said that it was the duty of the states to strive and promote fraternity amongst all citizens, as such mob violence was being instigated by intolerance and misinformed by circulation of fake news and false stories.

(With PTI inputs)