New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took to social media Monday to clarify that the Palghar mob lynching incident, where two sadhus and their driver was beaten to death, was not a communal incident and was a case of mistaken identity.
He also warned that strict action will be taken against those spreading fake news and igniting communal hatred on social media.
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray addressing the State https://t.co/IicTWk6t7w
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 20, 2020
In his address to the state, Thackeray said, “The two sadhus were going to Gujarat and since there were curbs on the main road, they took the road through a remote area. They were stopped at the Dadra Nagar Haveli border and were asked tor return. On their way back, they were attacked due to a misunderstanding and unfortunately killed.”
“The police are taking all the steps and we will not spare anyone involved in the violence”, he said.
He also added that more than 100 people had been arrested in connection with the violence and would be in police custody till 30 April. While five of the main accused were also in police custody.
Noting that the investigation is still ongoing, Thackeray requested people not to make false claims about the Palghar violence and said that he had even spoken to Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath regarding the issue.
“Amitji knows there is no communal angle to the incident,” he said in his webcast.
The Shiv Sena leader also tweeted Sunday, “The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police has arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself. Nobody guilty in this heinous crime and shameful act will be spared and they will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible.”
The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police has arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 19, 2020
On 16 April, two sadhus, 70-year-old Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri and 35-year-old Sushilgiri Maharaj, along with their driver Nilesh Yelgade were on their way from Kandivali to attend a funeral in Surat, Gujarat. As they neared Gadchinchle village about 150 km from Mumbai, on the Dadra and Nagar Haveli border, they were stopped by guards of the forest department and asked to go back.
A mob soon gathered and accused them of being thieves and began attacking them. By the time a team of four policemen reached the spot, the mob had overturned the car the occupants were sitting in. Another team of 16 police personnel arrived and managed to get the three men into two police cars, but the mob dragged them out of the police vehicles and lynched them to death.
Since the incident, the Home Ministry has sought a report from Maharashtra government on the incident, while BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded a high level probe into the incident.