The brutal lynching of Swami Kalpvriksha Giri, Sushil Giriand their driver has shocked the entire nation. BJP Sarpanch Chitra Choudhary, who lives exactly between the border point and the Maharashtra forest department check post outside which the lynching occurred, was not only an eye-witness to the entire incident but had also attempted to discourage the vexed mob from committing the horrific crime. In a shocking revelation, the Sarpanch recalls how the mob was pumped up seeing NCP leader Kashinath Choudhari.
NCP leaders’ appearance energised the mob
NCP leader Kashinath Choudhari is a Palghar Zilla Parishad member and the party’s losing candidate from Dahanu in the 2014 Assembly election. While speaking to The Indian Express, the sarpanch recalled how the NCP leader’s arrival at the time of the incident, had appeared to energise the mob which began chanting: ‘Dada aala, Dada aala’ (big brother is here) on seeing the leader. The NCP leader is seen in the video clips of the incident, wearing a T-shirt, standing back from the assailants.
The NCP leader had, however, said that he tried to calm the mob but by then, the Eeco (the car the Sadhus were travelling in) had been upturned. “Police tried their best, but the men were drunk, unwilling to reason. Still, we managed to get one sadhu to sit inside the chowki because he had been injured and put the other two in another police vehicle. But suddenly, when police were escorting the man from the chowki into the police vehicle, the attack began again, and it was over in minutes.” The NCP leader said there was no political motive to visiting the spot, and he confirmed that the BJP sarpanch had tried hard to calm the crowd. “But the police were also attacked and beaten, and we couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Role of the Police in the Palghar Sadhu lynching case
It is pertinent to note here, that by their own admission, the police force with one API and two PSI’s were at the scene of crime well 20 min before the final and deathly reign of hits took place. What transpired afterwards is shrouded in mystery as the accounts in the complaint don’t match the horrific video of the incident doing rounds on social media and indicate a major omission of facts by polices. While the police say that they were overpowered by the mob, the videos show that the sadhus were simply handed over to the crowd by the police personnel.
Chitra Choudhary recalled that when the commotion erupted it was around 8.30 pm and she went to the spot. “There were men from our village and from nearby villages, it was a thick crowd screaming around the car. It was impossible to reason with them. I was trying to pull one back and then another, but the men were screaming at me too. They told me I was free to hand over my children’s Kidneys to the men in the car — they had absolutely no doubt who these outsiders were. The WhatsApp messages had said the kidnappers could be impersonators, performers, dressed even as policemen,” Choudhary told The Indian Express.
Vicious rumour-mongering being common in the area, the victims were accused of a theft which occurred in Gadchinchale village. Rumour of child abduction and organ harvesting were also cited as the cause of violence.
The BJP Sarpanch lamented that she could do little to save the Sadhus and their associate. “For the two hours that I was there, the mob was raining stones and shaking the car, but the men inside were still unharmed,” she said. She left a little after the police arrived, in two batches.
Chitra Choudhary was picked up along with her husband Shevak for questioning around 2 am later that night and asked to name those involved in the violence. “Now the families of those arrested are threatening me, the women came here and said my house should be broken down. That’s why I placed a new sign saying ‘Sarpanch’ on my door two days back — at least if there’s an attack on me some people may see the sign and back off,” she said.
BJP Sarpanch threatened
Days after the horrific incident, relatives of those arrested in the case have reportedly threatened BJP sarpanch Chitra Choudhary of dire consequences for colluding with the police. The relatives suspect that it was the sarpanch of the village who released the details of the murderers to the police.
Palghar Sadhus lynched
The blood-curdling incident happened on 16th April 2020 in Palghar, Maharashtra. Two Sadhus, 70-year-old Kalpavrishka Giri Maharaj and 35-year-old Sushil Giri Maharaj along with their driver 30-year-old Nilesh Telgade associated with the Juna Akhara and were on their way from Mumbai to Gujarat to give Samadhi to another Sadhu.
Owing to the rumours child abduction and organ harvesting when the Maruti Eeco, the Two Sadhus were travelling in drove past Gadchinchle around 8 pm on April 16, the men of Gadchinchle, Divshi, Dabhadi, Talavli and Rudana were ready, with torchlights and bamboo sticks. The Eeco was stopped barely 1 km from Gadchinchle, at a lockdown barricade manned by guards from Dadra-Nagar Haveli, and turned back. It was then the wild and frenzied crowd of over more than 100 people attacked them. The villagers deemed them as thieves and started attacking them. The police claim that their team which had rushed to the spot to rescue the 70-year-old man also came under the attack of the violent mob.
Horrifying visuals of the Palghar lynching incident where a mob of over 100 people killed two Sadhus and their driver even as the Police stood there as mute spectators, just letting the barbaric act unfold, had gone viral on the social media.
People of the Sadhu community say that this village is tribals dominated and most of them are Christians while some are Muslims. Some even say that the police, out of fear of the tribals, handed over the Sadhus to the mob which later beat up those Sadhus to death with sticks. Reportedly, when the tribals of a particular religion started beating up the Sadhus, the police did not intervene.