Organization of Islamic Cooperation
(GS-II: Important International Institutions)
India has condemned the “motivated and misleading statement” made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which expressed deep concerns over what it called “continued attacks on Muslims in India” and called upon the international community to take necessary measures.
What’s the issue?
OIC had expresses deep concern over recent public calls for genocide of Muslims by the ‘Hindutva’ proponents in Haridwar in the state of Uttarakhand and reported incidents of harassment of Muslim women on social media sites as well as banning of Muslim girl students from wearing hijab in the state of Karnataka.
Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity.
Concerns over these remarks:
This is not the first time that the OIC has commented on India’s internal matters.
The OIC had asked India to reverse its decision of scrapping Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, during the sidelines of 76th UN General Assembly.
It is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states.
It is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony “.
The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
Permanent Secretariat is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Significance of OIC for India:
OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
Individually, India has good relations with almost all member nations. Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, especially, have improved significantly in recent years.
The OIC includes two of India’s close neighbours, Bangladesh and Maldives.
(GS-III: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers)
The government has said that it plans to prepare digital maps of all its 6,00,000 villages and pan-India 3D maps will be prepared for 100 cities under SVAMITVA scheme.
So far drone surveys have covered close to 1,00,000 villages and maps of 77,527 villages had been handed over to states.
Property cards had been distributed to around 27,000 villages.
Overview and key features of the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Yojana’:
Launched on Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24th, 2020). Last year, it was extended to all states. Earlier, it was launched only for 9 states.
The scheme seeks to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones.
The scheme aims to revolutionize property record maintenance in India.
The scheme is piloted by the Panchayati Raj ministry.
Under the scheme, residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record.
Property card for every property in the village will be prepared by states using accurate measurements delivered by drone-mapping. These cards will be given to property owners and will be recognised by the land revenue records department.
Benefits of the scheme:
The delivery of property rights through an official document will enable villagers to access bank finance using their property as collateral.
The property records for a village will also be maintained at the Panchayat level, allowing for the collection of associated taxes from the owners. The money generated from these local taxes will be used to build rural infrastructure and facilities.
Freeing the residential properties including land of title disputes and the creation of an official record is likely to result in appreciation in the market value of the properties.
The accurate property records can be used for facilitating tax collection, new building and structure plan, issuing of permits and for thwarting attempts at property grabbing.
Need for and significance of the scheme:
The need for this Yojana was felt since several villagers in the rural areas don’t have papers proving ownership of their land. In most states, survey and measurement of the populated areas in the villages has not been done for the purpose of attestation/verification of properties. The new scheme is likely to become a tool for empowerment and entitlement, reducing social strife on account of discord over properties.
Anti-mob lynching bills
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Bills passed against mob lynching in the past four years by at least four States have not been implemented with the Union government taking a view that lynching is not defined as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
These states include Jharkhand, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Manipur.
Why have the bills been delayed?
In 2019, the MHA informed the Lok Sabha that it had received the bills passed by the State legislatures that have been reserved by the Governor for consideration of the President.
The President has to go with the advice given by the Council of Ministers, in the case of such legislation, represented by the MHA.
The Ministry examines the State legislations on three grounds— repugnancy with Central laws, deviation from national or central policy and legal and constitutional validity.
Recent incidents of mob lynching:
In December 2021, a man was lynched to death by the Sikh Sangat (Sikh devotees) in Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara (Golden Temple) in Amritsar over an alleged attempt to disrespect the holiest book of Sikh religion, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
In 2021 in Assam, a 23-year-old student leader was allegedly killed by a mob.
In 2021 October a man was allegedly lynched, his limbs cut off and left to die at the Singhu Border, site of the farmers’ protest against the three farm laws.
In 2021 August, a bangle seller in Indore was reportedly beaten up by a mob for allegedly hiding his identity.
The man survived and was sent to judicial custody.
In 2021 May, a 25-year-old Gurugram man was allegedly lynched when he went out to buy medicines.
What is meant by Lynching?
Any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting (encouraging) such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.
How are these cases handled?
There is “no separate” definition for such incidents under the existing IPC. Lynching incidents can be dealt with under Section 300 and 302 of IPC.
Section 302 provides that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. Offence of murder is a cognisable, non- bailable and non-compoundable offence.
There should be a “separate offence” for lynching and the trial courts must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person to set a stern example in cases of mob violence.
The state governments will have to designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
The state governments need to identify districts, sub-divisions and villageswhere instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP about any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
Every police officer shall ensure to disperse the mob that has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise.
Central and the state governments shall broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms about the serious consequences of mob lynching and mob violence.
Despite the measures taken by the State Police, if it comes to the notice of the local police that an incident of lynching or mob violence has taken place, the jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge an FIR.
The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme in the light of the provisions of Section 357A of CrPC.
If a police officer or an officer of the district administration fails to fulfill his duty, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence.
Need of the hour:
Every time there is a case of honor killing, hate crimes, witch hunting or mob lynching we raise demands for special legislation to deal with these crimes.
But, the fact is that these crimes are nothing but murders and the existing provisions under IPC and CrPC are sufficient to deal with such crimes.
Coupled with the guidelines laid down in Poonawala’s case, we are sufficiently equipped to deal with mob lynching. However, what we lack is due enforcement of the existing laws and accountability of the enforcement agencies.