What is the Palghar incident?
On April 16th, between 9:30-10pm, two sadhus named Chikne Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri, 70, Sushilgiri Maharaj, 30, from the Shree Panch Dashnam Juna-Akhada order, and their driver Nilesh Telwade, 30 were attacked by a mob of more than 150 people who stopped the vehicle on the Dhabadi-Khanvel road near village Gadchinchale village in Palghar district. They were questioned, dragged out of the car and beaten to death brutally with sticks, rods, and stones amid rumours that they were robbers or child kidnappers to harvest organs. According to the reports, they were proceeding from Nashik to Surat in a Maruti Eco car to attend the funeral of their “guruji” but were stopped at the Gujrat border and asked to return, so they took a diversion and reached interiors of Palghar.
On witnessing the incident, a forest official called up police who then tried to shift the victims in their car but being outnumbered they were attacked and their two vans were also damaged. Although police managed to bring them to the hospital they were declared dead.
Actions taken so far
The Kasa police station arrested 110 people, while 101 people have been remanded in police custody till April 30, the 9 others have been sent to a juvenile home. Further investigations are underway. The Inspector General of Police, Konkan Range, Niket Kaushik suspended Kasa police station’s assistant police inspector Anandrao Kale and sub-inspector Sudhir Katare for alleged dereliction of duty. Videos of the gruesome incident have gone viral on the social media stating how 3 people were mob-lynched in the presence of police officers.
Maharashtra CM Udhav Thackeray confirmed that there was no involvement of any religious or communal groups as various parties and organisations were attempting to give it a communal colour including the General Secretary of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Milind Parande who said that that this is a part of a deeper conspiracy because of similar incidents in the area.
National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) said it has called for a detailed report in 4 weeks, on action taken against the abusers and relief granted to kin of the deceased victims.
The death of the 3with such cruelty by an unruly mob, that too during the continued countrywide lockdown under extra vigil by the administration and police, amounts to “gross violation of the proper to lifetime of the victims”, said NHRC.