Days after the blood-curdling lynching of two Sadhus, 70-year-old Kalpavrishka Giri Maharaj and 35-year-old Sushil Giri Maharaj along with their driver 30-year-old Nilesh Telgade in Palgarh in Maharashtra by a frenzied mob, more details are emerging regarding the real intention behind the killing of Hindu Sadhus.
An investigative report by Zee News suggests that the killing of the Sadhus was intentional and it was done due to political reasons.
The mob-lynching of Sadhus was intentional
A report by Zee News Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary has published accounts of the eyewitness of the gruesome incident which ascertains the truth behind the whole incident.
The Zee News team spoke to Sarpanch, Chitra Chaudhary, of Garh-Chinchle village of Dahanu area, an eyewitness of the gruesome incident. Chaudhary was the first one to reach the spot where two sadhus along with their driver were brutally lynched to death in front of the police by the Christian-converted mob on that day.
“Around 8:30 pm, we came to know that a vehicle has been stopped at the check post where she reached in 15 minutes to see that the sadhus sitting inside the car,” Chitra Chaudhary said to Zee News. She added that the two Sadhus greeted her from inside the car and said that she had also asked them who were they and where did they want to go.
Chaudhary said that as she was talking to the Sadhus, a mob gathered there and punctured the tires of the car and overturned it. Chitra said that she tried hard to convince the frenzied mob until the police arrived, but could not control them much as people were angry at her. She said she somehow managed to calm them down for two-three hours.
As the police reached the spot at 11 PM, two of the three people surrounded by the crowd managed to sit in the police car, but when the elderly monk came out of the forest post holding the hand of one policeman, the crowd went berserk and started beating him.
Chaudhary said she was hurt as she tried to stop the mob. She had to leave the spot to save her own life. She added that after reaching home, she saw images of dead bodies of the monks and their driver.
Sadhus were killed for political reasons
The Garh-Chinchle village sarpanch has claimed that the three men were killed due to political reasons.
According to Zee News, illegal liquor has been one of the reasons for the lynching of the Hindus Sadhus. The Gadchinchale village, where the heinous incident occurred, falls in a tribal region where most political parties have used liquor as a tool to mobilise popular support. Social workers, individuals and seers, opposing this are treated as enemies by those who have massive influence in the region.
Rampant conversions of tribals by Christian missionaries supported by left, NCP
Reportedly, Zee News spoke to many social organisations which have been working here for long in the region. According to these organisations, Palghar has been one of the tribal areas which have been impacted with rampant conversions. The Palghar region has become a battleground for political and religious supremacy with active support from Chrisitan missionaries.
The Christian missionaries enjoy massive support from the Left-wing groups and are involved in the conversion of tribals in the region. These Christian groups face stiff resistance from the Hindu religious outfit. In recent years, Palghar and the surrounding areas have become a big flashpoint between the Christian missionaries and the Hindu outfits over religious conversion.
Besides, these missionaries have full support from political parties like Sharad Pawar-led NCP, one of the coalition partners in the incumbent Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. Addition to that, one Kashinath Chaudhary, who is the district panchayat member of NCP, was also among the mob which killed the two men. He has been accused of instigating the mob.
Further, a video has also resurfaced showing several local leaders and activists of NCP, as well as CPM, was in the crowd during the alleged mob lynching of the three men. Chitra Chaudhary had also said that the mob was energised after seeing local NCP leader Kashinath Choudhari at the spot. She said that the mob began chanting ‘Dada aala, Dada aala’ (big brother is here) on seeing the Palghar Zila Parishad member and NCP leader, who can also be seen in the videos of the incident.
Kashinath Choudhari has agreed that he was present at the time of the crime, but he said that he tried to calm down down mob, but he failed.
All these new evidence raises the suspicion that the two Hindu seers – Kalpavriksha Giri Maharaj, Sushil Giri Maharaj – might have been killed for political reasons.
Child theft bogey
There have been rumours of child theft in these tribal areas for a while now. A certain section of media has been propagating the same rumour to link it to the killing of the sadhus. However, interestingly, in her testimony to Zee News, the Sarpanch claimed that mob got suddenly infuriated after seeing the elderly monk with policemen and went berserk after that.
The sudden mood swing of the mob hints that the real motive was to kill the sadhus by labelling them as thieves and that too in front of several policemen.
Interestingly this tribal belt in Maharashtra, including Palghar, is also known for worshipping demon king Ravana and organising events glorifying him. This has also led to several incidents of clashes between the pro-tribal groups and the right-wing organisations.
Palghar Mob Lynching incident
On 16th April 2020, two Sadhus associated with the Juna Akhara, 70-year-old Kalpavrishka Giri Maharaj, and 35-year-old Sushil Giri Maharaj along with their driver 30-year-old Nilesh Telgadewere were on their way from Mumbai to Gujarat to give Samadhi to another Sadhu. At Gadakchinchale village, a 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.
But later videos emerged which completely debunked the claim of police, as it was seen that the sadhus were in the custody of the police, but the police personnel handed them over to the mob. The mob then proceeded them to beat them to death in front of the policemen.
Arrests made in the case
The authorities on Sunday filed an FIR against the villagers and 110 people including 9 juveniles have been arrested so far. 101 have been sent to judicial custody till April 30 while the juveniles have been sent to the juvenile shelter home.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had released the list of 101 adults arrested in connection with the case. The home minister said that they were arrested within eight hours of the incident.