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, Maharashtra by a frenzied mob, journalist Shekhar Gupta’s website ‘The Print’ has come up a theory to conclude that the lynching incident was not a case of ‘communalism’ but was a pre-emptive responsive against illegal liquor trade.
Incidentally, there were several claims, reports on social media highlighting the communal nature of the incident as many believed that the victims were lynched for the sole reason that they were Hindus. Nevertheless, no substantial proofs emerged to back these assertions even though there were certain allegations that most of the tribals are Christians, who had targetted Hindus for a long time now.
Most importantly, the incident being a hate crime against Hindus cannot be ruled out as lately there have been constant attacks on saffron-clad Sadhus by Islamists, certain sections of media and intelligentsia, who have been mocking and maligning Hindus for their religious practises and traditions.
Continuing this rhetoric, Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The Print’ had come up with a report to try and whitewash the crimes of the mob, who had unleashed barbaric violence on two Hindu Sadhus and their driver in Palghar on April 16.
Illegal Liquor economy behind murder, no communal angle
According to The Print, it was the “illegal liquor economy” in the region that played a part in the lynching of Sadhus on Thursday and not the ‘communal violence’ in the village as there are no Muslims in the Gadchinchale village, Palgarh. The report claims that due to the lockdown, the theft of liquor had increased, so they thought their hidden liquor was being stolen.
The Print gives an economic angle to the lynching incident by inventing an ‘illegal liquor’ trade theory. If one goes by The Print’s logic that the lynching against Hindu Sadhus happened due to the fear of their liquor bottles being stolen, then the entire outrage against the so-called cow-related violence allegedly targetting Muslim communities falls flat as the cow-related violence happens for mostly economic reasons and most villagers consider cattle as an ‘asset’.
Hence, Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The Print’ cannot have both ways. On one hand, the left-leaning media house has been smearing Hindu villagers, the Gau-Rakshaks through its day-in-day-out rant for trying to protect their assets and on the other hand, the Print gives a clean chit to the Christian-converted tribals by citing it was their economic plight that had resulted in the lynching of Sadhus.
No communal angle as the villagers are not ‘Muslim’
“Nearly, all of the village’s 1,280 people are tribals — much like two of the three victims,” claimed The Print report in an attempt to tone down the communal killings of the Sadhus. The report also mentions that majority of tribals in the area have converted to Christianity, although they have retained their traditional customs.
The assertion of The Print is that the incident was not communal as there was no Muslims in the locality. According to the Print, as it was just Christian-converted tribals and not Muslim who had attacked the Hindus, one cannot classify the barbaric attack as ‘communal’.
Does Shekhar Gupta’s website consider that the Muslims are the main perpetrators of all the communal violences that occurs in the country?
Interference into villagers customs
Secondly, the report claims that are Scheduled Tribes, a majority of whom have converted to Christianity but they follow their tribal rituals. Further, it claims that as Gadchinchale is a far-flung village, Christian missionaries come here and give them food and medicines.
“The rule has been that these villagers don’t interfere with anyone and don’t let anyone else interfere in their customs and traditions,” claims the Print.
As per The Print’s own admission, it was thus a Christian-converted mob which had lynched the Hindus Sadhus for their alleged interference, then the entire incident should be considered as ‘communal’ as Sadhus were killed for the only fact that they were Hindus.
If claims made by the villagers to the Print reports are factually correct, then the question arises how come conversion by Christian missionaries are not ‘interference in their customs and traditions’ while rumours of alleged ‘liquor theft’, that led to the lynching of two Hindus Sadhus, was an act of interference.
The selective ‘secularism’ of liberals
The ‘liberal-secular’ media, for years now, have been forefront at absolving crimes of minority groups perpetrated against Hindus. Through the constant vilification of majority Hindus for even trivial cases and turning a blind eye towards the incidents where Hindus are victims, the liberals have always found a way to ignore the communal nature of the crimes committed by minorities and instead have blamed the Hindu victims for their own death.
In a way, the secular media outlets like ‘The Print’ have attempted to blame the 70-year-old Hindu Sadhu Kalpvruksh Giri, Sushil Giri and their driver for their own death.
The normalising of “Muslim lanes” during the killing of Chandan Gupta for hoisting tricolour and refusing to chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh to the liberation of Chrisitan localities by non-interference of Hindus in Gadchinchale village, Palgarh, the ‘liberal-secular’ have been firm on the false narrative that Hindus can never be a victim of the communal violence in the country.