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Illegal liquor trade, not communal violence, suspected in lynching of 3 men in Palghar

Illegal liquor trade thrives in the region & theft has increased due to lockdown. Tribals may have mistaken victims for 'thieves' trying to steal liquor, residents say.

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Palghar: There are no Muslims at Gadchinchale village in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, where two Hindu tribal ascetics and their driver were lynched last week while they were on their way to a funeral in neighbouring Silvassa.

Videos of the horrific crime have gone viral and allegations are being made that the killings were communal in nature. But sources in the area say that nearly all of the village’s 1,280 people are tribals — much like two of the three victims.

They also claim that the “illegal liquor economy” in the region could have played a part in the triple murder that took place on Thursday, 16 April, even as police investigate the crime committed during the coronavirus lockdown.

“All the residents here are Scheduled Tribes. A majority have converted to Christianity but they follow their tribal rituals,” said a source conversant with the customs of Gadchinchale. “Since this is a far-flung village, Christian missionaries come here and give them food and medicines. The rule has been that these villagers don’t interfere with anyone and don’t let anyone else interfere in their customs and traditions.”

“These villagers do not have a lot of money, so what is it that thieves can take away? Due to the lockdown, the theft of liquor has increased. So they thought their hidden liquor was being stolen,” said the source, who is a resident of the nearby Kasa town.

Also read: Who is Vinay Dubey? The self-styled migrant mascot arrested for Bandra ruckus

The boot-legging economy

Poverty in Gadchinchale village and its location, sources said, have led to a thriving liquor trade in the region.

Nestled in lush greenery at the foothills of the Western Ghats, the village is the last post in Maharashtra before the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The village is also surrounded by Gujarat and Nashik on its farther sides.

While many of the villagers who have farmland in the foothills sow paddy and nachni (local name for ragi millet), the landless go to work in the numerous industrial units in nearby Dadra and Nagar Haveli. 

Since liquor is available in plenty and is cheap in the union territory, it is smuggled back into the village and hidden in the forests. This smuggled liquor is sold at a much higher price to liquor shops and individuals, the sources said. 

They also pointed to the sequence of events on the night of 16 April to substantiate the liquor theory. 

The three victims — ascetics Kalpvruksh Giri, 70, and Sushil Giri, 35, and their driver Nilesh Telgade, in his 30s — were headed to a funeral in Silvassa in a Ford EcoSport car.

Due to the national lockdown, the highway between Jawahar in Maharashtra’s Palghar district and Silvassa is blocked by police at various points. Their car was stopped by Dadra and Nagar Haveli police at the border and they were turned back.

On their return journey, they hit a dirt road that passed through the forest towards Gadchinchale village and were stopped by the forest guards. 

While they were being questioned by the forest guards, a small crowd had gathered around outside the forest post. 

The forest guards then called up the Kasa police post, about 40 km away, informing them about the sadhus and the people who had gathered outside. 

By the time the police arrived about an hour or so later, a sizeable mob had gathered outside the post demanding that those inside be handed over to them. Police are still investigating why a mob armed with lathis gathered outside the forest post late at night. 

As the police escorted the sadhus and their driver to the police van, the mob allegedly attacked them and lynched them. “The police ran away to their vehicle. A sizeable mob attacked the police van and damaged it. After the lynching, the mob ran away into the forest,” said the source. 

The outnumbered Kasa police had sought help but a 200-member strong police team from Palghar arrived hours after the crime. Palghar town is more than 100 km from the scene of the crime in Gadchinchale.  

Police vehicles damaged by the mob at Gadchinchale village | By special arrangement
The vehicle that the three men were travelling in | By special arrangement

A deserted town

Ever since the crime made national headlines, this tribal village dotted with hamlets of 10-12 houses known as padas, wears a deserted look.  

About 110 men have been arrested including nine juveniles who allegedly led the attack, said those in the know of the events. The men have been remanded in police custody until 30 April, while the juveniles have been sent to the Bhiwandi Correctional Home. 

Police have been deployed at Gadchinchale village since the lynching | By special arrangement
Police have been deployed at Gadchinchale village since the lynching | By special arrangement

The Kasa police who arrested the suspects said many men from the village have fled into the jungles leaving behind the women and children. Of the estimated 300-odd houses in the padas, many of them are locked. 

The livestock consisting of goats and cows are tethered while multi-coloured hens and roosters roam around the padas. There is an air of disquiet and hostility in the village. Women and children look out through half-open doors of their mud houses with thatched roof. 

With the lynching resonating in the power corridors of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh — the two sadhus belong to the Varanasi-headquartered Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara — Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe by the state CID. The probe will be led by Director General of Police (CID) Atul Kulkarni.  

Two policemen, inspector Anandrao Kale and constable Sudhir Katare, have been suspended (pending inquiry) for dereliction of duty.  

Also read: Shock in Mumbai Police as ‘honest’ top cop gets blamed for Wadhawan family trip 

CM’s appeal

The village is part of Dahanu assembly constituency represented by Vinod Nikhole of the CPI(M)The gram panchayat of Palghar is, however, ruled by the BJP, and its sarpanch is Chitra Chaudhari.   

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to the people to not get taken by the BJP’s allegations that it was a communal crime. “We have not spared the guilty. They have been arrested and remanded in police custody until 30 April. The juvenile offenders among them have been sent to Children’s Home. The DGP CID led by an able officer Atul Kulkarni will probe this murder,” Thackeray said, addressing the state via Facebook Live. 

The CM also said Union Home Minister Amit Shah had called him and he had apprised him of the action taken by the Maharashtra government. “Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had called me seeking to know the action taken. I have told Amit Bhai and Yogi about the CID probe and the suspension of two policemen,” said Thackeray. 

(This report has been updated to correctly reflect that CPI(M) leader Vinod Nikhole is the MLA of Dahanu and not BJP’s Paskal Janya Dhanagare. The error is regretted)      

Also read: Uddhav Thackeray has failed to handle Covid crisis. Bring in Army to save Mumbai



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  1. 1. Hypocrisy: “The rule has been that these villagers don’t interfere with anyone and don’t let anyone else interfere in their customs and traditions” how did travellers passing in a car interfere in their customs? And killing travellers waiting at forest outpost for clearance is not interference?

    2. Hundreds of people assembling with sticks and sickles at night during lockdown is not premeditated?

    3. The policemen instead of protecting the travelers and controlling the mob feed the 70 year old traveller to the murderous mob and run back to their vehicle? Recorded visuals viral on the net show the traveller holding the hand of the policemen like he is pleading while he’s kicked on the back possibly by policemen.

    4. Who tells villagers that someone waiting at the outpost are thieves? The person who gives such information obviously wanted them lynched.. for the colour of dress they were wearing?

    5. Had it been perchance holy men from Christian or Muslim minority passing in a car would they have been lynched? What message does this murder convey?

    6. Nice that “this report has been updated to correctly reflect that CPI(M) leader Vinod Nikhole is the MLA of Dahanu and not BJP’s Paskal Janya Dhanagare”.

  2. The police clearly pushed the Sadhus towards the Mob.

    Going by your reporting on beef killing and how you justified the fact that he has a right to sell whatever he wants and how lynching was undemocratic and ruthless act of BJP whereas the govt then was of Samajwadi. Police belongs to the state and is a puppet of the date government.
    This is called convinient reporting..

  3. The print it was the first time I read your articles, I read two of them.I am an avid reader, writer and Counselor, I have come across too many shitty angles and stories but yours are the shittiest ever.You right fiction, do you even have real journalists?

  4. This is massacre of hindu faith and it’s not as small as your article read. We are totally shocked after looking the video. Extent of cruelty how badly they were beaten to death even in the presence of police. heinous crime I wonder why people of such type are still alive on the earth they are not human but demons without horn and tail.

  5. You people want to save india from going back to the simi and im times but you shall have a thought that your journalism pains a lot the vast majority of this country because you try to justify even their murder. I love all sections of the society but you people are biased and it is because of you people that our society keeps fighting. You have double standards and you people are failing in your profession of journalism.

  6. How convenient that the tribals most of whom have converted to Christianity but their names still sound to be Hindus, mistakenely lynch saffron clad septuagenarian sadhu thinking that he was a liquor thief that too under the watch of police over a period of at least 3 hours. Why doesn’t Haima Deshpande demand that hindus must hand over their safekeeping to non-hindus. Is she a born hindu in the first place ?

  7. Two innocent Hindu sadhus lynched by a Christian mob. That is what I gather from your report.

    I can imagine the outrage of the left-illiberal media if the victims had belonged to a minority community.

    From your article about the incident, it’s obvious that the converted tribals’ minds had already been poisoned against Hindus and sadhus so that the Christian tribals had very little compunction in murdering the Hindu ascetics.

  8. Ohh…how believable…sadhus come looking for alcohol to steal…Tell ur fake news somewhere else, Print. Make no mistake this was a communal killing …the missionaries have told their henchmen to guard their flock from Hinduism. That’s why the inhuman anger against Hindu sadhus.

  9. Shameful even by your pathetic standards. If it’s some minority person killed in a fight for a seat it becomes a national disaster and communal hand of the RSS is seen but when Hindu saints are brutally thrashed it is only a petty incident of liquor theft. Shameful really and your website stinks will communist piss.

  10. CORRECTION: The car that the victims were traveling in is a Maruti Suzuki Eeco van, and not a Ford EcoSport as mentioned in the article.

  11. How do you call yourself a journalist for justifying mob killing in name of some rubbish theory. Problem is conversion and the hate missionaries spread.

  12. Wow this is just pathetic . I know the times are tough but that doesn’t mean u guys should hire ‘journalist’ like haima Deshpande who probably doesn’t even know how to spell the word . Shame

  13. Presstitute ThePrint.. You have no credibility and you are known to be Anti Hindu and Anti India..

  14. See how narrative are being set by media mujaheed in name of Secularism that like what arab did in 6 the ad to 1700 ad. In name of idol worshiper they killed millions Hindu n destroyed their temple.

  15. The car that the victims were traveling in is a Maruti Suzuki Eeco. The article wrongly mentions it as a Ford Ecosport.

  16. You have no right to be in journalism profession, if you job is to spread fake news and twist facts. Probably, you are a rice bag convert still using Hindu identity.

    (1) The two killed were not “tribal” (2) As per you, Saffron is the dress code of Thieves and any one who wears saffron dress can be easily considered as THIEVES. (3) This is how you perfectly twisted facts ” (thieves) trying to steal liquor” – WHF, any thief would use costly SUV to steal desi liquor and that too in a Adivasi area. (4) For your knowledge – rice bag converts have floated another theory that they (Hindu saints) were were mistaken as child snatchers. (5) For your knowledge – Killers were not from the same village. They were from multiple villages. It means this was a pre-planned attack.

  17. Did sum paper got exchanged…did u get sum other story printed mistakenly?
    Filthy rats of #ThePrint

  18. Tribals are converted and brainwashed against Hindus, they are fed with hatred. Police inaction and role is highly deplorable. They should be charged with murder.

  19. If Muslims or Christians lynched by Hindus that will become international sensation by media, secularists …when sadhus killed by hate filled converted Christians then all secular govt try to portray it as a normal incident….RSS, Hindu organizations must stop these conversions by luring with money and items by missionaries all over India…..If hindus become minority , hindustan never exist in future

  20. Wrong information…
    Current MLA is Nikole of CPI not BJP
    Infact only MLA of CPI in Maharastra.
    And BJP sarpanch had been threatened by relatives of accused for revealing names of violent mob to the police. So it’s BJP sarpanch helping police to nab the suspects.
    Palghar Dahanu is hotbed christain missionaries and Communist ideologue which you intentionally not mentioned. And try to paint it as BJP fortress.
    The incident is result constant hate of missionaries and left ideology against Hindus.
    All 5 accused named in FIR are workers of communist party. How can ignore all this.

  21. 1. Sadhus were not tribals, sadhus take no castes or identities but they belonged to who become monks of hindu order
    2. You say tribals don’t allow anyone to interfere so how were they converted to Christianity in the first place? Is that not interference?
    3. Have you bothered to take the angle of “heathen” as Christianity commands to kill “heathens” aka dis-believers which saffron clad sadhus were.
    4. The lynching happened in dahanu constituency of palgarh district where CPI(M) candidate had won, a party for whom lynching has been a tool to use since it’s inception.

  22. This is for the first time that details of this nature has come to light. No one has explained nor details given of the people who live there and their profession. BJP and RSS finding it difficult to accept Uddhav Thakre showing them the door and come to align with the secular forces in the state are desperate in trying to find one or the other reasons to malign them. No one has mentioned that the population living there are all Scheduled tribe and many of them have taken to Christianity but this has happened long ago not during this regime no one knew the details of the Sadhus taking to different route avoiding Police and not listening to the police were caught in their own trap and the incident happened. But why should BJP RSS combined should spare any such incident that may bring them dividend and discredit this Govt. in Maharashtra. Thanks The Print.

    • Did you watch the video even once – you seriously are a heartless , evil psycho maniac you could still write something like this – you should have been in the place of those three innocent men

  23. Why did the police hand over the Hindu Sadhu to the Mob? Uddhav Thackeray said FIR was registered on the same day that is the 16th but the official FIR date shows 18th. Why did he lie? Who was he trying to shield? Why didn’t police fire in the air to scare the mob away? These questions raise a lot of doubts on the Police complicity in the case. The print has woken up now. It seems it is just a way to do damage control. No one trusts you.

    • Did you read this article in detail and then question such things. Why these Sadhus who were stopped by Police took to different route through jungle ? Moreover, lynching is bad and worse but lynching Aqlaque is also bad and worse. If a ruling party at the centre encourages lynching of certain community and condemn other it is what? Worse than being Hippocratic.

      • So tomorrow if you go through some other route, you deserve to die? Are you terrosist or maoist?

        Ruling party in center is last hope for Hindus and never did any lynching, unlike your side.. killing hindus since centuries..

  24. In year 2019 , Dahanu constituency is represented by CPI(M) and not by BJP. Kindly check this fact and many other facts about this incidence rather than cooking up fancy novel like story

  25. This is a fake article. To hide reality of Communist brutality and to protect those who convert people, the media is doing what it should never do. .. i.e. to hide truth. If this is about theft then why those three ” so called thieves” were not arrested by police? On the other hand police were escorting ! Also where ever communists have some presence they indulge in killing opponents like in Kerala. The author inadvertently tells you that BJP has taken over the political space which was earlier occupied by communists. So the anger of those communists and so the present rulers of Maharashtra hatched the conspiracy to commit this crime along with communists

  26. We should stop this conversions. Converting increasing hate against Hindus. There will be future ghettos will start. Mostly uneducated ppl are converted. Some missionaries are increasing hate.

  27. So when BJP raises the issue of Hindus lynched by Christians, it is communalising the issue! Brilliant analysis. The Print has a very poor impression of the intellect of its readers.

  28. This article seems to purposefully adds “illegal liquor economy” angle to the Palghar lynchings. Whether somebody claimed or the author cooked up this angle one thing is clear that Haima, the author of this article is far from being objective. Politics seems to guide this article.

  29. What crap.
    These innocent men were killed on purpose. But since they are Hindu monks, there is obviously no communal angle
    Stop the whitewashing. Tell it like it is.

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