Palghar lynching: Congress draws angry retort for alleging BJP role in killings

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Updated: Apr 21, 2020 11:34 AM

Palghar lynching: The Bharatiya Janata Party has slammed the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state for the lynching of three persons including to saints linked to the Juna Akhara.

Police inspect a vehicle that was attacked by villagers in Palghar district. (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)

The Congress party has alleged that majority of the people arrested in connection with the Palghar lynching case were members of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Accusing the BJP of playing communal politics to gain political mileage from the incident, Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant said the place where the incident took place is a BJP bastion, and terned the saffron party’s attempt to politicise and communalise the incident as “shameful”.

“The village Divashi Gadchinchale is known as BJP bastion for last ten years including the post of village head. The current head is also from BJP. Most of the people arrested in the lynching incident are from BJP,” Sawant tweeted. Three people including two seers were beaten to death by a mob while they were travelling to Surat in a car on the night of April 16. The incident drew widespread outrage after purported videos of the incident showed it unfolding in police presence.

With the Uddhav Thackeray government on the backfoot, Sawant said certain rumours of communal nature were being spread and a thorough probe is necessary into their circulation and connection to the crime.

“Who is behind such rumours that is turning people violent. It should be investigated. The BJP should be ashamed of its dirty politics of communalising the issue. The party that failed to stop similar incidents in the last five years is now politicising the issue is a serious thing,” he said in another tweet.

The BJP, however, refuted the charge and demanded that the role of police be investigated in the incident. Senior party leader Pravin Darekar claimed that a local Congress leader could be seen in the video and asked whether “we should say the Congress was involved” in the killings.

“Going by the people and their political affiliations, a zilla parishad member of Congress is also seen in the video footage available of the attack on the seers and their driver. So, should we say that the party (Congress) is behind the attack? We are talking about the failure of the police and home department, and not communalising it,” Pravin, who is Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has slammed the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state for the lynching of three persons including to saints linked to the Juna Akhara. The MVA government is headed by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and comprises Congress and NCP.

The lynching took place on April 16 night when three men from Kandivali in Mumbai were travelling to Surat to attend a funeral. Their vehicle was stopped near a village in Palghar district. The three were dragged out of their car and beaten to death with sticks by a mob on suspicion that they were thieves.

The deceased were identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30). The Chief Minister has ruled out any communal angle in the incident. Two policemen have been suspended while 100 people have been arrested in connection with the gruesome killings.

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