Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday ruled out any communal angle in the Palghar mob lynching incident, in which two sadhus and a driver were killed, while warning that strict action will be taken against those who are igniting communal hatred through social media.
Uddhav, who has received phone calls from both Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to inquire into the incident, added that he had told Shah that there is no communal angle in the incident.
“Since there were curbs on the main roads due to the lockdown, the two sadhus were going to Gujarat from a remote area. They were stopped at the border of Dadra Nagar Haveli and asked to return. On their way back, they were attacked due to a misunderstanding and killed unfortunately,” Uddhav said while addressing the state through webcast on Monday.
He added that while the incident took place in Palghar district, the location was around 110 km away from Palghar, near the border of Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli.
On Thursday night, three men, two sadhus and a driver, were lynched by a mob in Palghar district after allegedly suspecting them to be child kidnappers and organ harvesters. The three were driving to a funeral in Surat when a group of villagers in Gadchinchle, a tribal village in a remote part of Palghar, stopped their car and attacked them with stones, logs and axes.
Uddhav said that there were rumours that the thieves were roaming in the area. “Some people are trying to ignite communal hatred in the incident. There is no Hindu-Muslim angle or any communal angle in it,” he added.
The CM further said that he has spoken to Amit Shah in the morning and briefed him about the incident. He had also received a call from Adityanath on Sunday. “Shah knows that there is no communal angle in it and he said Uddhavji ‘take care’. I also told him that we must look for those people who are igniting communal hatred through social media. Because these people do not suffer after the incidents. They must be located at the earliest and arrested. I have given instructions to the state authorities about it,” he added.
Uddhav also indirectly blamed the authorities of Dadra Nagar Haveli for turning the two sadhus back in the night. “Had the authorities shown some humanity, kept these two sadhus with them at night and handed them over to Maharashtra government the next day, the incident could have been avoided,” he said.
Refuting allegations of government inaction, Uddhav said more than 100 accused, including five main accused, have been arrested a day after the incident on April 16. “They were produced in court on April 18 and reminded in police custody till April 30. Nine minors have been sent to remand homes and search is on to arrest others who are absconding. We will not spare anyone,” he added.
Taking an indirect dig at BJP, the CM said that incidents of mob lynching had taken place in Maharashtra and others states in the last five years as well. “But I don’t want to play politics here. It is shameful incident and shouldn’t happen in Maharashtra. This is not our culture,” he added.
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