The fact finding committee from Vivek Vichar Manch released its report on June 16, 2020 which has also been submitted to the Maharashtra government
A fact finding committee from Vivek Vichar Manch has released its report on the Palghar Sadhu lynching case. The committee members met the people of Palghar and surrounding villages, tribal organisation under the chairmanship of Justice Shri Ambadasji Joshi, retired Judge of the Bombay High Court. Their findings were released in a press conference earlier today.
The committee findings reaffirm that left-wing organisations working in the area are creating hatred in the minds of Adivasis, against Government, and Hindu religious leaders, sadhus and sanyasis. Their findings conclude that the growing violence in the area with the increasing influence of organisations like Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, Kashtakari Sanghatana, Bhumisena, Adivasi Ekta Parishad, CPM prima facie suggests to have culminated into the lynching of the Sadhus.
The detailed press note from Vivek Vichar Manch is below.
Vivek Vichar Manch is a Non-Government Organisation dedicated to address the issues of violation of Human Rights, Atrocities against Civil Rights by way of the initiative including assistance for legal action and creation of awareness amongst the sufferers and people at large.
On 16th April 2020, at village Gadchinchale in District Palghar, wherein two Sanyasis and their driver were killed by a rowdy mob. Two Sanyasis and their driver identified as Shri Chikane Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70), Shri Sushil Giri Maharaj (35), driver Shri. Nilesh Telgade.
Initially, it was narrated that the incident was occurred due to rumours. On the same line, the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Home Minister had given statements. However, videos which went viral on social media clearly show that police personnel were present at the time of the incident remained as silent spectators. The social and mainstream media saw a sharp reaction from the public after seeing the helpless situation of the Sadhus in saffron seeking help in the viral videos of the incident.
The members of the ‘Vivek Vichar Manch’ approached to the prominent people of Palghar, Talasri and some tribal organisations of the region about this incident; they revealed that such incidents are happening in this area since many years. In view of this, it was decided to set up a Fact-Finding Committee under the chairmanship of Justice Shri Ambadasji Joshi, retired Judge of the Bombay High Court.
Due to the ‘lockdown’ in the district Palghar, all members of the committee could not visit the place of the incident. However, some local members and journalists visited Gadchinchale and surrounding area. They interacted with various tribal activists and Chitra Chaudhary, the sarpanch of that village Gdachinchale.
The revelations emerging from the available information is quite shocking. The tribals are originally peace-loving and reverential to Hindu customs and traditions; how did the Tribals become so cruel? Why did they ruthlessly kill these two sadhus wearing saffron clothes? We found these prima facie answers during the enquiry.
The police administration had claimed that a rumour was spread that the Sadhus were thieves or kidnappers who are stealing kidneys and that is why the mob attacked and killed them. However, this claim of the police administration appears to be incorrect. The Sarpanch of Karsgaon, Shri Luis Kakad, who lodged a police complaint, says that the same rumour like village Gadchinchale spread in other villages.
The left-wing organisations working in the area are creating hatred in the minds of Adivasis, against Government, and Hindu religious leaders, sadhus and sanyasis. Prima facie, the content of the material available in the public domain, suggests that these organisations indulged into anti-government and anti-Hindu activities.
The growing violence in the area with the increasing influence of organisations like Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, Kashtakari Sanghatana, Bhumisena, Adivasi Ekta Parishad, CPM prima facie suggests to have culminated into the incident.
There are four factors which are impacting in Palghar region –
The district Palghar is tribal-dominated and become a stronghold of many organisations working under the pretext of tribals. Shri Padeep Prabhu and his associates Shri Brion Lobo, Smt Shiraz Balsara have built up the large network of Kashtakari Sanghatana. So-called tribal activists of this district such as Pradeep Prabhu claiming that the tribals have their hundred years old written constitution, you will find videos of such claims on YouTube. There are videos available on YouTube which show anti-constitutional activities within the region. On the line of Naxal lead Patthalgarhi movement in Jharkhand, the Chikhale Grampanchayat passed a similar resolution in Gram Sabha in May 2017. The member of the Adivasi Ekta Parishad has played importent role for passing such resolution.
During the election period, public representatives, who are not leftists, are attacked. People are intimidated to participate in gatherings and rallies. Any opposition results into the burning of their houses, damaging their vehicles, destroying their livestock and pets, etc. Such incidents occur regularly. During the term of ex-MLA Lahanu Kome, many such violent incidents were reported in large number.
The organisations are consistently opposing the projects of Bullate Train and of Mumbai – Vadodara Highway Project, in the guise of protecting the interest of Adivasis.
The material suggests that there is a conspiracy to divide the tribals from Hindu traditions which appear to be supported by the Christian missionaries. The propaganda is spread amongst the Adivasis that ‘The deities of the Hindus and Hindu traditions are not of Adivasis.’ They oppose Hindu Gods, and varkari practices. Such anti-Hindu activities are causing hatred against Hindus. Fr Nicholas Barla and other Christian missionaries participate in tribal annual gatherings.
Anti Hindu activists like Kaluram Dhodade of Adivasi Ekta Parishad spread hatred amongst the Adivasis. In Adivasi culture there are number of evidences which show that Adivasi worships God Ram, Ganpati and other Hindu Gods as evident in any other Hindu sects. However, deleberatley it is spread that Ram is not Adivasi God but Ravan is Adivasi God. By negative approach towards Hindu Traditions people are instigated to become violent causes friction amongst the Adivasis. There are incidences which opposed Harinam Saptah, opposition to immolate effigy of Ravan at Jawhar. With the use of social media divisive videos causing hatred against Hindus are spread on regular basis.
After considering the available material referred to in the report, there is a possibility of Naxal like activities creating law and order situations by anti-social elements within the area located near the economic capital of the country. As in Naxal-affected areas such as Gadchiroli, Tripura, West Bengal, people with opposing views based on violence are eliminated, similar incidents are being carried out in District Palghar for the last 40 years. The present incident invited the attention of the entire country as the deceased were Sadhus, however many such violent attacks were carried out in this area. Since inception due to the stand of the government, the investigation is misled and prima facie appears to be incorrectly handled by the Police department and CID. Therefore, we recommend that the responsibility for the inquiry of this matter should be entrusted to ‘NIA’ and ‘CBI’.
The recommendation is based on the following reasons:
All the police officers and police personnel of the Kasa Police station immediately transferred to other police station, and five of them were suspended. This creates doubt as to the role of police machinery.
The Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Home Minister have made statements prima facie influencing the investigation. The person who referred to as Dada during the lynching incident is connected to the ruling political party. Shri. Kashinath Chaudhari was present at the time of incident, however, he has not made any attempt to Save Sadhus from mob lynching. Rather there is strong doubt that he brought many people to the place of incident. Same person accompanied by Hon’ble Home Minister during his official visit to Gadchinchale. Therefore, there is doubt as to unbiased investigation by the State Government.
The incident took place at Dadra Nagar Haveli and the State of Maharashtra. Therefore, this is an inter-State incident. On this background, it may take a longer time to search for the answers of questions raised due to the occurrence of the incident.
It is necessary to investigate as to the relationship between other states of the organisations run by the Leftist and the tribals in Palghar District. Otherwise, the situation in the region will be as violent as that of Gadchiroli or other Naxal-affected areas in the coming times.
The present incident of Sadhu’s lynching is a tip of iceberg. It is necessary to investigate the real intentions of the organisations in Palghar and Thane district working under the different names. The roots of these organisations must be revealed and the real accused needs to be find out. It is necessary to have thorough investigation as to the activities of the organisations, the foreign aids of these organisations, donations to these organisations. There is strong necessity to have long term steps after an enquiry. Prima facie the members of these organizations are responsible for violence, anti development and anti-constitutional activities. As of now those Adivasis are arrested by Police, real culprits may be find out and the innocent Adivasi may be released.
By a resolution dated 22nd April 2020 which was adopted by the Trustees of Vivek Vichar Manch, a ‘Fact-Finding Committee’ was constituted to conduct an enquiry into the matter. The Committee comprises of following members:
Justice Shri. Ambadas Joshi, Retd. High Court Judge, (Chairman)
Shri. Samir Kamble, Advocate (Member Secretory)
Shri. Pravartak Pathak, Advocate, High Court. (Joint Secretory)
Shri. Kiran Shelar, Editor at Mumbai Tarun Bharat,
Shri. Santosh Janathe, Activist in Palghar District
Shri. Lakshman Kharpade, Retd. Asst. Commissioner of Police.
Smt. Maya Potdar, MSW, Social Worker