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July 10, 2018
12 days

Social messaging applications are blamed to be the principal offender in recent lynching cases in India. Evaluate. (200 words)

Refer – The Hindu

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Shankaranand 23 hours

Please Review

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IAS Parliament 5 days


·         There has been a spree of mob lynching in recent times, due to alleged rumours that were spread through Social messaging applications like WhatsApp, Facebook etc.

·         Strong privacy policy of such messaging platforms claimed to be the principal offender in recent lynching cases and proves to be most challenging for investigators.

·         For example, in most messaging services, information is stored in the parent server and police can request companies to share IP details if needed. 

·         But contrarily, in WhatsApp like communications, they are “end-to-end encrypted” and information is stored in the devices of users and not on a common server.

·         This implies, even WhatsApp doesn’t know what is being disseminated through its platform and hence can’t provide investigating agencies with information.

·         Additionally, if metadata is deleted like in WhatsApp, it is almost impossible to track the trail of forwards beyond a few users.

·         But pinning the blame solely on the medium for the violence is diversionary tactic to not address the larger malice that is plaguing our society.

·         While technology is indeed an enabler for the faster dispersal of rumours, it is only a trigger and the undercurrent lies elsewhere.   

·         Social Tensions - Most victims were “nomadic tribes and people from religious minorities”, a trend that reflects our pre-existing social tensions and discriminatory outlook.  

·         The “political vulnerability (lack of state support) and the ostensible cultural distinction” of the victim from the mob is likely to have precipitated the crime.

·         Organized Assault - Lynching is not mere street madness, there is an element of organization on the lines of some identity to establish dominance.

·         Data - Government maintains no central data on public lynching – thereby making it hard to decipher clear trends, if any.

·         There is also no plan to start such a data collection in the near future and there is no specific legal framework to deal with lynching offences.