Kalna Lynching case: 12 get life term

The Kalna District Court sentenced 12 persons to imprisonment till death

kalna Lynching

Additional District and Session Judge Tapan Kumar Mondal, of the Kalna Court in Burdwan, West Bengal sentenced 12 persons to life imprisonment till death in the case of the Kalna lynchings that took place in 2017, The Telegraph reported.

The accused, including a woman were involved in the lynching of two labourers on suspicion of child lifting.

On January 20, 2017, five persons from Nadia’s Raghabpur village had come to Kalna to spray pesticide on trees. A group of detained the workers, suspecting them to be child lifters. The five showed their identity cards but still, the local people beat them up with sticks, tree branches and iron rods. Two, out of the five people died in the incident.

Anil Biswas, 40, died on the way to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital. Another worker, Narayan Das, 35, succumbed to injuries at a Kolkata hospital later. The three others later recovered from the injuries.

“Police filed a chargesheet against 26 persons. The court sentenced 12 persons, including a woman, to imprisonment till death,” assistant public prosecutor Bikash Roy said.

“The judge has asked the district legal aid authority to give proper compensation to the families of the deceased,” Roy added.

The court said the life imprisonment was being handed out to the convicts to give a message to the society against lynching.

In the matter, a mob had set a Kalna-bound bus on fire and brick batted police force on NH 34 at Habibpur in Nadia district to protest against the lynchings demanding arrest for the accused and compensation for the family of the victims.

In 2019, after Manipur and Rajasthan, the West Bengal Assembly had passed an ‘anti-lynching’ bill, the legislation for which was introduced by CM Mamata Banerjee. It was supported by the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). But, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remained silent on the matter, as per usual, neither supporting nor opposing the bill.

According to the bill, those found guilty of assisting or interfering with the accused will be punished with imprisonment of up to three years and fined a maximum Rs 1 lakh. It also proposes a maximum one-year jail term and a fine up to Rs 50,000 for “publishing, communicating or disseminating offensive material by any method – physical or electronic”. Those who create “a hostile environment for a person or a group of persons” face maximum prison term of three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh.

These anti-lynching bills have yet to become laws.

Last year, in December 2018, the First Class Judicial Magistrate Rishikesh Kumar had sentenced eight men to life imprisonment in a case related to the killing and hanging of two men Majlum Ansari (32) and Imtiaz Khan (12), in March 2016.

In March 2018, a fast track court in Ramgarh on Wednesday sentenced 11 people, including a BJP leader, to life imprisonment for lynching a meat trader over the suspicion that he was carrying beef in his car.

According to IndiaSpend, there have been about 129 cases of mob lynchings in India since 2012, leading to about 47 deaths in which 56% of the victims have been Muslims and 9%, Dalits. While such decisions from courts are small wars that are won, there is always a chance of further appeals with the option of the perpetrator walking away scot-free. In the latest gaffe by the government, rather a deliberate move to cover up its inefficiency in the matter of taking stringent action, the National Crime Records Bureau has withheld data on lynchings and convictions for the year 2017 and onwards citing information gathered to be ‘vague’.


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