In the Palgarh lynching case, none of the 101 people arrested so far is a Muslim, said Maharashtra’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday , and accused the opposition of giving a communal colour to the incident, where a mob attacked and killed three men, including two seers.
“None of the accused arrested in connection with the incident is a Muslim. It is unfortunate that communal politics is being played following the incident,” Deshmukh said in his address via Facebook.
He did not take names, but said, “Some people are seeing ‘Mungerilal ke haseen sapne’ (pipe dream)…it is not the time to play politics, but fight coronavirus collectively.”
The Chief Minister’s Office also tweeted regarding the incident. It said, “Those trying to inflame passions, must desist from doing so. There is no Hindu-Muslim angle or communalism in this attack. Two policemen were suspended immediately”.
On April 16, at night three men – two sadhus and their driver – were travelling from Mumbai in a car towards Surat in Gujarat to attend a funeral.
Their vehicle was stopped near Gadchinchale village in Palghar district where the three were dragged out of the car and beaten to death with sticks by a mob on suspicion that they were child-lifters.
There were several rumours floating around the locality. According to police, there were rumours around that the thieves taking advantage of the current lockdown imposed to arrest the spread of Coronavirus. While the District Collector Kailash Shinde said that there were also rumours of child abductors operating in the neighbourhood.
The deceased have been identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and driver Nilesh Telgade (30).
Last week, the shocking videos of the attack went viral in which angry locals of Gadchinchale village could be seen armed with sticks and stones attacking 3 men including a very old man.
The Maharashtra government earlier ordered a high- level probe into the incident, and two policemen from Palghar were suspended on Monday for alleged dereliction of duty.
Currently, the state with the highest number of positive coronavirus cases with a tally of 5218 and 251 fatalities so far, is busy in arresting the spread of COVID-19.