The brutal killing of saints will be recorded as a murder born out of political hatred, indiscriminate mob rule and an unscrupulous regime
- Devidas Deshpande from Maharashtra
The death of two sadhus and their driver at the hands of an incensed mob in Gadchinchale village in Palghar district shook Maharashtra inside out. Sant Kalpavriksh Giri Maharaj and Sushil Giri Maharaj of Shri Panch Dashnaam Juna Akhada fell victim to the mob. This lynching, with police as witness and participant, recorded a new low in the state's polity. The lynching undid whatever modesty left with Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party's Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government and bared it in front of the whole nation.
Even more annoying and disgusting than the tragedy are the attempts by the so-called liberal, secular gangs and the self-professed pro-Hindu government. Pretending to be a regular and petty crime, all attempts were made to showcase it as yet another incident of killing due to the rumours. The incident even went unreported for two days. It was only when he video started circulating in the social media that the people got to know its severity. It was then that the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray thought it proper to speak about it. However, even after lying flat on the back, claims continued unabated that 'our people were not behind it'. However, considering all aspects of the incident which have came to fore till date, it may be assumed safely that it was not a thoughtless mob attack but a deliberate homicide.
It was natural for Hindutva activists to get angry after the killing of sadhus. Shiv Sena, which is in power in the state, was claiming to be the protector of Hindus till yesterday. It claimed till the other day that its Hindutva has not paled. Therefore, Shiv Sena had an opportunity to demonstrate that it could live up to its words. Yet, what happened?
The Congress initiated a lie that the sarpanch of the village where the sadhus were killed belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party and most of the arrested accused were BJP workers. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeted to that effect and Shiv Sena just parroted the line while the NCP, which helms the Home Department, remained silent.
Later, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh came up with the list of over 100 arrested persons and bragged that none of them was 'from other faith'. What he didn't tell was that most tribals are crypto-Christians who retain their names even after conversion and mere names do not really give idea of their faith.
Hotbed of Christian Missionaries
Palghar district is a hotbed for activities of Christian missionaries. They have a perfect partner in crime in the form of Left activists. Most of the local gram panchayats in the area are under the control of Marxist Communist Party workers and local members of Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad belong to NCP. Even local MLA belongs to the CPI (M). So why should Congress run a campaign like this? It is to give direction to the police as to how should they investigate and give a different spin to the matter.
Two sadhus and their drivers were lynched by a mob as police became mute spectators
A section of media also rallied to support these efforts. Sudhir Suryavanshi and Nikhil Wagle were at forefront in this. Suryavanshi, in fact, spread the fake news that BJP sarpanch was arrested. Wagle tweeted that BJP was behind the killings and police have arrested some of them. Some of those, whose nose always smell the 'intolerance' first but are prone to selectivity, did not posses such courage. So they buried their heads in sand like an ostrich.
How different the facts were! It is true that Sarpanch Chitra Chaudhari belongs to BJP, but it was her efforts that led to the arrest of the suspects in the case. Those arrested in the case and whose names are in the preliminary information report are Jayaram Dhak Bhawar, Mahesh Sitaram Rawate, Ganesh Devji Rao, Ramdas Rupji Asare, Sunil Somaji Rawate and Sitaram Chaudhary. The first four were CPI (M) workers and the fifth was Panchayat Samiti member from NCP.
Chaudhary, whose testimony led to the arrest of accused, is now threatened with 'breaking into your house and killing everyone, including your two children'. Therefore, she has demanded police protection. In her statement to the media, she has said that she tried to save sadhus and driver. “After the forest department guards stopped the car of sadhus, the crowd started gathering gradually. They were taken into custody by the mob on suspicion of coming to steal their children's kidneys. I was called on the spot as the Sarpanch. At that time, I told them not to take the law into their own hands and let the police come. Then they became angry. I left for house as the people became aggressive. I returned after the police arrived. All three were alive when NCP's Zilla Parishad member Kashinath Chaudhari came there. But when people attacked the three in front of him, Kashinath Chaudhari made no attempt to stop the people. Also, as the mob got very aggressive, I went home again for fear of being beaten,” Chitra Chaudhari said.
Fake Rumours Spread Intentionally
The dubious role of the local police and the intentional spread of rumors clearly indicates that the lynching was a well planned conspiracy by anti-Hindu forces and those in power. Harshal Bhanushali, a former RSS pracharak in the area, confirmed that there was less spontaneity and more planning behind the riots. According to him, Kalpavriksh Giri Maharaj and Sushil Giri Maharaj and the driver were beaten immediately after being caught. Moreover, a lot of phone calls were made after they were caught by the mob and thereafter only the fatal beating took place.
According to Bhanushali, the maximum blame in the incident falls on the police because village Kasa is only 10-15 km away from where the incident took place. How did the police not know when the car the three traveled passed from there? Why did the police send only two, old and unarmed personnel when they were called? Why didn't the police leave the spot along with sadhus and their driver in their vehicle when the crowd became aggressive? Even though the crowd had turned the vehicle of the sadhus turtle, the police vehicle was intact. However, the police did not just become a mute spectator but also helped the perpetrators of the crime. Two police officers, Assistant Police Inspector Anandrao Kale and Police Sub Inspector Sudhir Katare of Kasa police station have been suspended in the case, but it is just a plastic measure. Real culprits are still at large.
Bhanushali made another point. Rumors of thieves had been circulating in the Palghar area for the last ten days. CM Thackeray and his ministerial colleagues also tried to justify this murder on this basis. However, it is incomprehensible how the police or the administration didn't take cognizance of such rumours even after ten days. Moreover, the scene of hundreds of people coming out in open, when lockdown and curfew are in place, is dreadful.
There is one more clue that this was a planned attack. According to a local newspaper Rajtantra, API Vilas Budhaji Jadhav of Talasari Police Station had left with his additional reinforcement for the Gadchinchale village to stop the lynching via Khanvel. These policemen has received information of the attack in Gadchinchale. However, their vehicle was stopped 7-8 kms before the spot and it was pelted with stones. This incident has been recorded as an offence (no. 8/2020) with the Khanvel police. Most importantly, the police FIR clearly states this to be a "premeditated conspiracy".
Fertile ground for anti-National forces
The entire tribal area belt of Thane-Palghar-Nashik districts is looked upon by the missionaries, leftists and jihadis as a fertile land for them for the last few years (Kasa has a large Muslim population). Their activities are deeply rooted in this area. Calling the tribals descendants of Ravana, destroying Hindu symbols is a rising trend. Even without these actions, hatred continues to spread under various guises. After the killing of sadhus, a video from April 2019 made rounds in social media from the Palghar in which missionaries deride Hindu gods. “Ganpati and Hanuman are just animals, how can they protect you? Only Jesus can save you,” is what these missionaries can be heard saying.
Petition to Maharashtra CM Seeks 1 crore compensation and transfer of the case to CBI
A legal representation by Advocate Ishkaran Singh Bhandari on behalf of wife and mother of Nilesh Telgade, driver of two Sadhus Maharaj Kalpavruksha Giri ji and Maharaj Sushil Giri ji, all 3 of whom were the victims of the barbaric Palghar lynching on 16th April to the Maharashtra CM seeks transfer the investigation of the case to the CBI, to award compensation of the tune of Rs 1 Crore each to the kin of all the victims and to send the case to fast track court for speedy Justice.
The representation provides the details of the barbaric Palghar lynching and highlights that it was perpetrated under the nose of police officers, who failed miserably in protecting the 3 innocents, as is clearly evident from the videos of the incident. The representation also says that the videos of the incident which have been widely circulated all over the Nation is bound to have a devastating effect on the faith and confidence of the people on the Police authorities.
It further says that the failure of the police to protect the victims warrants stringent and uncompromising measures to be taken, so as to reinstate the faith and confidence of the people in the police of the state. In order to have a impartial investigation the case has to be handed over to the CBI or carry out a Judicial enquiry into the incident and its perpetrators urges the representation.
The killing also brought out the memories of Talasari attack. The missionaries and lefts had attacked a Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra ashram in Talasari on August 14, 1991. They mainly wanted to kill Madhavrao Kane, but he escaped as he was not present there. However, the mob of 700-800 ransacked the ashram and damaged properties, injuring few in the process.
This slow poisoning has resulted in this massacre. Whether or not there was a well-planned conspiracy behind it is a matter of investigation. With recent track record of Maharashtra police, there is rightful apprehension whether this can be achieved which is why the demand to hand over the case to NIA is gaining ground.
All in all, the killing of these saints will be recorded as a murder born out of political hatred, indiscriminate mob rule and an unscrupulous regime.