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Kolkata: BJP MLAs abstained from the House as West Bengal Assembly today 30 August passed a bill to specifically deal with mob assaults and lynching.

With this, Bengal becomes the third state in the country, after Manipur and Rajasthan, to adopt specific legislation against mob violence.

The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019, provides for a maximum punishment of death sentence for lynching and fine ranging between Rs 1-25-lakh.

In the case of injuring someone through mob assault, the punishment is rigorous imprisonment for injury and up to Rs 1-lakh fine.

Under this law, the police will form a dedicated task force in every district to keep vigil against mob assaults and lynching.

Speaking on the bill in the House, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Supreme Court had directed framing specific law to deter lynching and ideally the Centre should have formulated this but it has not.

“Bengal has taken the lead on this. None has the right to resort to extra-judicial measures against anyone. In case of any crime, people should report the same to police and must not resort to mob violence,” she said.

BJP, which has 13 MLAs in the Assembly, abstained from the debate and passage for the bill. The party’s view is that police may misuse the legislation to carry out a political vendetta.

Earlier this month, when Rajasthan Assembly passed such a bill, BJP MLAs opposed vociferously. Significantly, this is even as across the country, it is often the Hindu fundamentalists group owing allegiance to BJP that are blamed for lynching.