In our tradition, we have no law for punishing rapists, says BJP MP

“In our tradition, there is no law or convention that punishes a person for rape or theft, but in other societies and religions there is a tradition,” Rajya Sabha MP and RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha said while talking about RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark on mob lynchings.

“In Islamic society, there is a punishment for rape, there is a punishment for theft. There is no parallel in India. In the medieval Christian world, there was lynching and it continued to present day in a more sophisticated form,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Speaking to India Today TV’s Rajdeep Sardesai, Rakesh Sinha said that the RSS chief did not say anything wrong when he claimed that mob lynching was a foreign concept as Indian history does not mention any punishment for it.

He argued that the RSS chief, in his Vijayadashmi speech on Tuesday, advocated against communalising lynching incidents and distancing them from any ideology.

“RSS chief said that such actions [lynching] should neither be dignified nor linked to Hindutva ideology. By linking it to Hindutva, you give the crime dignity. His speech was a message to the administration, police and the civil society that kindly isolate [from Hindutva] and punish such people through constitutional means,” Rakesh Sinha said.

Rakesh Sinha claimed that the RSS chief had three messages: “One, do not communalise any violent incident. And do not give ideological colour because it ultimately gives an advantage to the culprit. If you attach an ideology, the criminal becomes a hero to those who follow the ideology.”

“Second, in our tradition, there is no law or convention that punishes a person for rape or theft, but in other societies and religions there is a tradition.”

And third, that “the civil society must first resolve any issue through dialogue, but it is our swayamsevaks in the government have to enforce the law and if the laws are not effective new one should be created to deal with the problem.”

Also present during the debate, author and activist Harsh Mander claimed that majority of lynching incidents which have taken place since 2014 were linked to cow vigilantism.

“Fact-checkers, who followed incidents reported in English newspapers, found that 97 per cent of cow-related lynchings happened after 2014. Furthermore, 86 per cent people killed in these cow-related lynchings were Muslims and eight per cent were Dalits,” Harsh Mander said.

Harsh Mander said that it was untrue to say that there were no lynchings before, “It is not like lynching is foreign to our culture. There have been many cases in the past where Dalits or single women were lynched in the name of caste or witchcraft.”

According to the activist, recent cases of lynching were performative and more brutal then past incidents. “They have become brutal and are often video taped by the culprit and circulated. The attitude of the police in almost all cases has been to accuse the victim. You are wrong because you allegedly did something to the cow, so the crowd is reacting with aggression, so the lyncher is the victim,” he said.

However, Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha claimed that Harsh Mander’s study was conducted with a missionary bias and was an attempt to communalise a heinous crime such as lynching.

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