Concerned by the incident of mob lynching of three people including two sadhus in Palghar, Maharashtra, Home Minister Amit Shah today spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Maharashtra government on the case.
In Palghar yesterday, a mob of about 200 goons beat to death two sadhus and their driver in the presence of police force. It appeared from a video that went viral as though the police had handed them over to the mob.
People are questioning the integrity of Maharashtra Police, seeing the video. According to the news agency ANI, 110 people have been arrested following an FIR in the case. Of these, 101 have been sent to police custody till 30 April while the minors have been sent to a juvenile home.
On Sunday evening, the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office said that the state government had initiated action on the Palghar incident and the police have arrested two of the accused. The CMO claimed the police were attacked too.
Later on the chief minister appeared on camera to appeal to the people not to communalise the issue. He said two police officers had been suspended.
Thackeray said although two sadhus were killed, this was not a communal issue and that the assailants were antisocial elements and not of a rival community. He said that the route the sadhus had taken was a difficult one, where people normally go via Dadra and Nagar Haveli; so the sadhus had taken the route of Gujarat.
Thackeray said that he had had a talk with the union home minister in the morning and also Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The video suggests one of the sadhus tried to run back to a cop for protection, but the policeman shrugged him off and went away.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had told the press on Sunday that the state government had ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. Deshmukh has warned against giving communal colour to this incident even as passions run high due to the killing of two sadhus among the three victims.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has demanded strict action against those accused of murder. Fadnavis tweeted, saying, “The video of the mob lynching incident in Palghar is shocking and inhuman. Such an incident is even more disturbing at a time of such calamity (the global coronavirus disease pandemic).”
Fadnavis requested the state government to conduct a high-level inquiry into the matter and take strict action against those who were guilty.