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NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to enact a new law and stem what it called “horrendous acts” of lynching after some 22 people were killed by mobs this year.

Since February the country has seen a spate of mob lynchings, often in isolated areas where outsiders have been accused of child kidnapping and other crimes following fake rumors spread via WhatsApp.

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The latest incident saw a Google engineer killed in a mob attack last week in the southern state of Karnataka and five people were lynched in neighboring Maharashtra on July 1.

Separately, fatal attacks have also been carried out on Muslims by so-called “cow protection” groups who roam highways inspecting livestock trucks. Cows are considered sacred by the majority Hindu community.

The Supreme Court Tuesday condemned the lynchings and asked states to take “preventive, punitive and remedial” measures to curb the trend.

“Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be allowed to become a new norm. It has to be curbed with an iron hand,” observed a bench headed by India’s chief justice Dipak Misra.

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