Hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray briefed Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday (20 April), the state government suspended two policemen and directed the Crime Investigation Department to probe the sensational mob lynching of two Sadhus (mendicants) and their driver last week.
In an address to the state this afternoon, Thackeray said that so far five of the masterminds and another more than 100 persons, including 9 minors have been arrested so far in the crime that took place during the lockdown.
“We also need to find out the people who are creating communal tensions on social media, I requested Amit Shah. We will also find them and take action against them… No one will be spared,” the CM warned.
The two Sadhus and their driver, proceeding from Nashik to Surat, were lynched by a 200-strong mob outside the Gadchinchle village on April 16 in a police vehicle amid rumours that they were robbers or kidnappers.
The mob also attacked the policemen and damaged two police vans, including one in which the Sadhus were shifted by the police.
The victims were identified next morning as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri, 70, Sushilgiri Maharaj, 30, from the Shree Panch Dashnam Juna-Akhada order, and their driver Nilesh Telwade, 30.
“The incident took place around 110 kms from Palghar town on the night of April 16, at Gadchinchle village, on the border with Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli. While all of them are in police custody, the minors have been sent to a juvenile remand home,” Thackeray said.
“The investigation is handed over to CID, IGP Konkan Range is directed to enquire into police action. Two police officers are suspended,” said Director-General of Police Subodh Jaiswal, on the probe to be conducted by CID Additional Director-General of Police, Atul Kulkarni.
The incident occurred around 10 p.m on April 16 and a team led by the top district police officials reached there around midnight. They launched a hunt in the forests and managed to nab many of the accused hiding in the nearby forests, and some are still absconding.
It is learnt that the Sadhus were turned back at the border from going to Gujarat and were reportedly returning back to Nashik when they met their tragic end in a desolate corner of the state that night.
Revealing that the Centre has sought a report on the incident, Thackeray ruled out the involvement of any communal groups in the incident which happened in a remote state border area accessible only via the Dadra and Nagar Haveli in view of bad roads.
“There is no involvement of any religious or communal groups, it’s a mob-lynching case. Any persons attempting to give it a communal colour will be dealt with strictly,” Thackeray added.