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A Framework for Countering
Mobilised Violence
Madhav Chandavarkar, Divij Joshi, Ajay Patri
Why should you care about this report?
1. Mobilised Violence has many costs to society:
a) Loss of life
b) Damage to property
c) Cessation of economic activity
d) Damage to reputation
2. Existing laws dealing with mobilised violence:
a) Are overly broad or vague in their scope and application
b) Have insufficient procedural safeguards to prevent abuse
c) Don’t target the leadership
What is ‘mobilised violence’?
Acts of violence perpetrated by multiple people under the aegis of a group,
where the purpose of the violence is to achieve an identified political objective
Features of ‘mobilised violence’:
1.The acts of violence are committed by multiple people who are part of a group.
2.The violence is intended to achieve a political purpose.
What should the law target?
The features of ‘mobilised
violence’:
Our two broad approaches to
target mobilised violence:
2. An expression instigating
violence
2. Refining the provisions on hate
speech in the IPC
1. Structured grouping 1. Assigning liability to groups
Framework for Application
Absence of
Structured Grouping
Structured Grouping
Absence of Expression Instigating Violence
Expression Instigating Violence
Mobilised violence with
rhetoric
Mobilised violence without
rhetoric
Rhetoric from individuals
instigating violence
Spontaneous riots
Approach 1
Approach 2
Approach 2
Approach 1
Approach 1: Assigning Liability to Groups
1. Passage of a new law to regulate groups that have committed mobilised violence.
2. Introduction of civil liability for destruction of property.
3. Criminalisation of drilling and arms training.
4. Targeting leaders and organisers of mobilised violence.
Approach 2: Refining the IPC’s hate
speech provisions
The Law Commission of India has already provided recommendations that we have further
refined:
1. Repeal existing offences with vague standards that are extremely susceptible to abuse.
2. Narrow down the scope of existing provisions on hate speech to:
i. Focus only on incitement to violence and not discrimination. Discrimination should be
dealt with, but separately.
ii. Remove the restrictive requirement of the speech being discriminatory towards a group
identity to better focus on incitement to violence.
Increasing Institutional Capacity
Aside from these approaches to specifically and substantively target mobilised violence, we have
also recommended some improvements to improve the institutional capacity to address mobilised
violence:
1. Creation of Mobilised Violence Observatories.
2. Appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor.
3. Reducing executive interference in prosecutions.
Thank you
On “Countering Mobilised Violence”
Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University
The Proposed Solution
• Characterisation of groups/outfits as formal organisations questionable
• The solution effectively asks for more bureaucracy and data collection
• Income Tax department, CBI and intelligence agencies collect a lot of data that is
often not shared even within the respective organisations
• The discussion in the report is abstract
• The solution should have been applied to a concrete case such as Babri to show
how it would work in real life situations
• What should be done vs What can be done
• Legal/administrative framework
• Current framework: Individual-centric
• Proposed framework: (Standalone) Group-centric
• Required: Interacting groups grappling with incomplete/imperfect information
The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
A Framework For Countering Mobilised Violence
The problem
• Communication gap between potentially hostile (religious,
caste, linguistic, local-migrant), but interacting communities
during critical moments
• Lack of trust in administration or other institutions
• Societies with similar conditions can end up with different
outcomes depending on the level of communication deficit
• Bhiwandi and Meerut vs Mumbai in 1992
Omar Khalidi, Khaki
and Ethnic Violence
A Framework For Countering Mobilised Violence
Concluding remark
• Punitive-legal solutions cannot curb group violence (inter-
community or community-state) involving social and political
organisations
• We need to think in terms of multiple equilibria games of
coordination
Thanks
To ask the panel questions online please visit
www.sli.do on your phone’s web browser and enter
the event code #takshashila

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A Framework For Countering Mobilised Violence

  • 1. A Framework for Countering Mobilised Violence Madhav Chandavarkar, Divij Joshi, Ajay Patri
  • 2. Why should you care about this report? 1. Mobilised Violence has many costs to society: a) Loss of life b) Damage to property c) Cessation of economic activity d) Damage to reputation 2. Existing laws dealing with mobilised violence: a) Are overly broad or vague in their scope and application b) Have insufficient procedural safeguards to prevent abuse c) Don’t target the leadership
  • 3. What is ‘mobilised violence’? Acts of violence perpetrated by multiple people under the aegis of a group, where the purpose of the violence is to achieve an identified political objective Features of ‘mobilised violence’: 1.The acts of violence are committed by multiple people who are part of a group. 2.The violence is intended to achieve a political purpose.
  • 4. What should the law target? The features of ‘mobilised violence’: Our two broad approaches to target mobilised violence: 2. An expression instigating violence 2. Refining the provisions on hate speech in the IPC 1. Structured grouping 1. Assigning liability to groups
  • 5. Framework for Application Absence of Structured Grouping Structured Grouping Absence of Expression Instigating Violence Expression Instigating Violence Mobilised violence with rhetoric Mobilised violence without rhetoric Rhetoric from individuals instigating violence Spontaneous riots Approach 1 Approach 2 Approach 2 Approach 1
  • 6. Approach 1: Assigning Liability to Groups 1. Passage of a new law to regulate groups that have committed mobilised violence. 2. Introduction of civil liability for destruction of property. 3. Criminalisation of drilling and arms training. 4. Targeting leaders and organisers of mobilised violence.
  • 7. Approach 2: Refining the IPC’s hate speech provisions The Law Commission of India has already provided recommendations that we have further refined: 1. Repeal existing offences with vague standards that are extremely susceptible to abuse. 2. Narrow down the scope of existing provisions on hate speech to: i. Focus only on incitement to violence and not discrimination. Discrimination should be dealt with, but separately. ii. Remove the restrictive requirement of the speech being discriminatory towards a group identity to better focus on incitement to violence.
  • 8. Increasing Institutional Capacity Aside from these approaches to specifically and substantively target mobilised violence, we have also recommended some improvements to improve the institutional capacity to address mobilised violence: 1. Creation of Mobilised Violence Observatories. 2. Appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor. 3. Reducing executive interference in prosecutions.
  • 10. On “Countering Mobilised Violence” Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University
  • 11. The Proposed Solution • Characterisation of groups/outfits as formal organisations questionable • The solution effectively asks for more bureaucracy and data collection • Income Tax department, CBI and intelligence agencies collect a lot of data that is often not shared even within the respective organisations • The discussion in the report is abstract • The solution should have been applied to a concrete case such as Babri to show how it would work in real life situations • What should be done vs What can be done • Legal/administrative framework • Current framework: Individual-centric • Proposed framework: (Standalone) Group-centric • Required: Interacting groups grappling with incomplete/imperfect information
  • 12. The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
  • 14. The problem • Communication gap between potentially hostile (religious, caste, linguistic, local-migrant), but interacting communities during critical moments • Lack of trust in administration or other institutions • Societies with similar conditions can end up with different outcomes depending on the level of communication deficit • Bhiwandi and Meerut vs Mumbai in 1992
  • 15. Omar Khalidi, Khaki and Ethnic Violence
  • 17. Concluding remark • Punitive-legal solutions cannot curb group violence (inter- community or community-state) involving social and political organisations • We need to think in terms of multiple equilibria games of coordination
  • 19. To ask the panel questions online please visit www.sli.do on your phone’s web browser and enter the event code #takshashila

Editor's Notes

  1. Wilkinson (2004: 90)