Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil on Monday, 20 April, asked the BJP not to politicise the Palghar lynching incident in which three people were beaten to death by a mob, apparently on the suspicion that they were thieves.
Referring to a tweet of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, Patil, a Cabinet minister in the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state, said the NCP had no involvement in the incident.
In his tweet, Patra shared one of the videos of the Palghar lynching and asked people of Maharashtra to identify a person seen in it.
Replying to Patra, Patil tweeted, “Stop misleading. Gadchinchale Gram Panchayat in Palghar is ruled by BJP and the Sarpanch Chitra Chaudhari was present at the time of incidence. NCP has no involvement in the incident. Party worker had gone to venue on the police request. Stop politicizing the issue”.
Earlier, in a bid to put an end to speculation characterising the Palghar mob lynching case as a communal incident, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray reportedly appealed to Home Minister Amit Shah to act against all those giving a communal colour to the case.
On 16 April, three men, including two sadhus and a driver were lynched by a mob of at least 200 people near Gadchinchale village in Palghar district. Acting on rumours circulating about gangs of bandits roaming the area in the garb of sadhus and doctors, the mob dragged the men out of their car and beat them to death. Six police personnel were also injured in the attack.
The deceased have been identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavruksh Giri (70), Sushil Giri (35) and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30), all three hailing from Kandivali in Mumbai.
As soon as the victims were identified, several across social media tried to suggest that ‘Hindu Sadhus’ are not safe in the state and alleged a communal conspiracy. BJP MP Baijayant Jay Panda also took to Twitter to allege that media suppressed the fact that “they were in Hindu religious robes.”
‘Action Against Anyone Instigating Communal Hatred’
In a video message, CM Uddhav Thackeray said he received a call on Monday, 20 April from Amit Shah who told him that there is no communal angle to the incident.
“I have urged him to initiate action against those who are giving a communal twist to the Palghar mob lynching, which is factually incorrect. I also informed him that my government is definitely going to take action against the perpetrators.”Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
Thackeray added that stern action will be taken against those involved in the lynching of the three men. State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh too had earlier warned action against those instigating a communal rift over the lynching.
The state home minister further added that the attackers and those who died in the mob lynching are not from different religions.
“Those who attacked and who died in the Palghar mob killings are not from different religions... I have ordered Maharashtra police and @MahaCyber1 to take action against anyone instigating communal hatred in the society or on social media,” he tweeted.
Congress Hits Out at BJP
Condemning the incident, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "There is no communal or Hindu-Muslim angle to the attack as is being sought to be projected by those, who see an opportunity in every such incident to inflame communal passion. We urge all such persons and groups including political parties and a section of the media to desist from doing so”.
He further took a dig at the BJP by adding:
“Tragically, BJP and its ecosystem as also a section of media are attempting to project the incident with communal overtones. These attempts to politicise are deeply shameful and must be rejected with the contempt they deserve.”