The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), that tabulates and analyses crime data from across the country every year, is planning to now collect detailed data on lynchings as well. If this is approved by the Union Home Ministry, the NCRB will collect country-wide data on lynching incidents annually, and record causes and analyse reasons for the same.
NCRB Director Ish Kumar confirmed to The Sunday Express that a meeting was held on Tuesday, adding that these were still initial stages of the plan. At present no centralised data is available on lynchings, which have been reported in cases of theft, witchcraft, and recently over child theft and cow-protection.
With the Opposition accusing it of vitiating the atmosphere, prompting such violence in the name of the cow, the BJP has argued that there were more lynchings during the UPA regime. However, so far there is no official centralised data to buttress this claim. “With so much going on, we thought it would be prudent to collect authentic data on lynchings across the country and analyse the reasons that actually lead to murderous behaviour by mobs. This, we hope, will help policymakers come up with cogent solutions for such ghastly incidents. Data is the first step to formation of policy on any subject,” an NCRB official said.
An NCRB source said the bureau is writing to various states to check whether they collect such data at their end, and how the plan could be taken forward. Once the feasibility of the data collection has been established, a proposal would be prepared and put up before the Home Ministry, which would give approval for addition of a new proforma.
Following this, necessary modifications would be made in the data software for crime records and the new proforma sent to all state crime records bureaus for collecting information on lynchings.
For the past one year, the NCRB has been working on refining its data-collection process, plugging gaps, and expanding the scope of crime data. A few months ago, it invited suggestions from citizens for improvement in data collection and asked them to write in if they wished the NCRB to collect any other information. On its part too, over the past few years, the NCRB has begun tracking incidents that are impacting people and becoming a matter of concern. For example, it is considering collecting data on accidental deaths caused while taking a selfie.
In 2014, the NCRB had revised the number of its proforma from 22 to 36, bringing in many more sections of the Indian Penal Code. That year it also began collecting data on incidents involving Section 377 and gangrape.
The past few weeks alone have seen a series of lynchings, including of a young Muslim boy at Faridabad railway station when a fight over a train seat turned communal, of three Muslim men in West Bengal on allegations of cow-smuggling, of an alleged cattle smuggler by members of Gau Raksha Samiti in Jharkhand, and of a Jammu and Kashmir DSP by alleged stone-pelters.