Helpline for victims of mob lynching launched

Published : July 23, 2019 17:42 IST

At the launch of the helpline in New Delhi.

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coming back to power, there has been a spate of lynching incidents across north India. While the Prime Minister broke his silence with a tweet following the lynching of Tabrez Ansari, who was forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman” in Jharkhand, State governments exhibit a lack of will or ability to control the menace of lynching. In order to help victims of hate crime, members of civil society have launched a helpline. An initiative of United Against Hate, the helpline, 1800-3133-60000, was launched at the Press Club in New Delhi in July. Within hours of its launch, the helpline received more than 500 queries.

“We are launching the toll-free helpline in view of the rising cases of mob attacks and hate crimes in the country,” said the activist Nadeem Khan. Incidentally, Khan has been closely involved in providing relief to the families of lynch victims, from Pehlu Khan and Rakbar Khan in Mewat to Mohammad Qasim in Hapur and Alimuddin Ansari and Imtiaz Khan in Jharkhand. With a presence in nearly 100 cities, the helpline will seek to provide aid to victims as quickly as possible.

Besides social activists, the helpline will count on the professional expertise of the noted lawyers Sanjay Hegde, Ehtesham Hashmi and Fuzail Ayubi. It will try to give legal aid to the victims and their families, enabling them to strengthen their cases in courts, as the police are often guilty of not filing the first information report (FIR). The aim of the helpline is to provide speedy justice to victims of mob lynching and enable the media to report the incident immediately.

Speaking at the launch, Prof. Apoorvanand, an academic at Delhi University, Hindu right-wing mobs were targeting people because they were Muslims, Dalits or Christians. “It is the sad reality of India today. We cannot close our eyes from this reality,” he said. Dr Kafeel Khan, who was in the news two years ago following the Gorakhpur encephalitis cases, the JNU academic Ghazala Jamil and representatives of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind were also present at the launch.

Speaking on the occasion, Ehtesham Hashmi, who has represented lynch victims since 2015, said, “The helpline is badly needed in rural and remote areas. We will always be prepared to ensure justice.”

“The establishment of the helpline shows that the state has failed utterly in saving its citizens,” Ms. Jamil stated, underlining the need for a non-governmental body to step forward.

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