07:44 GMT24 November 2020
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    An angry mob of over 200 people lynched a Google software engineer, Mohammad Azam, on Friday, while three others, including a Qatari national, were injured over a WhatsApp-inspired rumor that labeled them as members of a gang of child kidnappers.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's apex court on Tuesday asked the Narendra Modi-led government to frame a law to deal with the increasing incidences of lynching and mob violence across the country. In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India said that brutal acts of "mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm in the country.

    READ MORE: WhatsApp Cries for Help in Tackling Fake News, Print Ads Come to Rescue

    "The horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land. Earnest action and concrete steps have to be taken to protect the citizens from the recurrent pattern of violence which cannot be allowed to become 'the new normal,' the court said in a judgment that was delivered following over a dozen cases of lynching fueled mostly by rumors circulated on social media including Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

    A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the state could not turn a deaf ear to the growing rumblings of its people and that it was the obligation of the state to ensure  that the "pluralistic social fabric" of the country holds against mob violence.

    The bench had categorically stated that no individual in his own capacity or as a part of a group, which within no time assumes the character of a mob, could take the law into his/their hands and deal with a person treating him as guilty. 

    On July 3 this year, the bench had reserved its judgment on a string of writ petitions filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla and Tushar Gandhi, in light of rising instances of cow vigilantism.

    The Indian government had earlier asked Facebook to find ways to curb rumors that led to panic and mob lynchings across the country. Last week, WhatsApp published full-page ads in the country's leading English and Hindi newspapers, giving readers 10 tips to spot messages that might be fake.

    READ MORE: One Fake Video, 29 Murders: Indian Gov't Springs Into Action

    "Fake news often goes viral" one of the adverts read.

    "Just because a message is shared many times does not make it true," read another ad.


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