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Saga of Palghar lynching

Adeel Mukhtar

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Adeel Mukhtar

Last week, three men were lynched in the Palghar area of Maharashtra during lockdown that set off a political slugfest. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked Union Home Minister Amit Shah to make a move against those giving communal color to the lynching.

The state government arranged a significant level investigation into the episode that occurred on the evening of April 16 when three Mumbai inhabitants, who were headed to Surat in Gujarat in a vehicle were lynched by residents in Palghar locale on the doubt that they were criminals. State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh prior cautioned against giving any communal color to the occurrence, as two of the three perished were diviners.

CM Thackeray divulged in a video message that “he received a call from Shah who himself said there is no communal angle to the mob lynching incident in Palghar, located adjoining Mumbai,”. “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,” Thackeray said.

Inspector General of Police (CID) Atulchandra Kulkarni, who is heading the investigation of the incident, is still probing the root causes(s). However, CM Thackeray believes that there is no communal reason or background to the lynching of three men by the mob. “As per my information, the seers were on their way to Surat in Gujarat during the lockdown. They were stopped by the Dadra and Nagar Haveli police and sent back to Maharashtra,” he said. “As they took an internal route passing through Gadchindhali village, they were stopped by locals who suspected them to be a gang of thieves stealing children,” the chief minister said, adding “police vehicles were also attacked by the mob”. “Over 110 people have been arrested so far from Palghar, including five main accused. Two police officials have been suspended for dereliction of duty,” he said.

Out of the total accused, nine are juvenile, and they have been sent to a remand home, Thackeray said. “I have informed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had called seeking details about the incident,” he said. Both the victims (Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30)) and perpetrators were of same religion as well, according to Deshmukh.

Having said that, the Congress blamed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on looking for political capital on the lynching incident. As per Congress, BJP’s stance on this demeaning crime and their attempt to politicize and communalize the incident is shameful. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala regarded the incident extremely shameful and unfortunate. “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,” Surjewala said in a statement. “Tragically, the 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,” he said.

 

Surjewala further advised Congress to make sure transparent and expeditious trial and subsequent punishment for the guilty. Congress also categorically asked BJP to stop politics on Palghar incident. “I think the BJP is playing politics at a very, very disturbing moment in our society’s history,” Ramesh told journalists. In another development, Congress also divulged that most of the people involved in lynching incident were the member or the followers of BJP ideology. State Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant blamed “the BJP of playing “communal politics” to derive a political mileage from the incident”.

With its more dangerous new face, extremists’ ideology of Hindutva has been growing manifold under BJP government, especially during Modi’s reelection campaign. According to a study by the Yale University, “BJP’s electoral strength goes up in the post violence scenario.” Similarly, as per Human Rights Watch World Report 2018, BJP government has failed to hinder vigilante attacks against Indian minorities, especially Muslims and Christians. These vigilantes are often claimed by BJP and publically to promote Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism. Furthermore, BJP has also contemplated to hire and launch 5000 “religious soldiers” in order to put an end to alleged ‘love jihad’ and ‘cow smuggling’. Therefore, Muslims in each and every part of India are despondent now. That is why international community must take notice of rising human rights abuses against Indian Muslim, looking beyond their economic interests in India.

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