Left, BJP trade blows over Palghar lynching

Left, BJP trade blows over Palghar lynching

New Delhi/Mumbai: No sooner than the BJP and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) pointed fingers at the Left for the horrific mob lynching of three persons in Maharashtras Palghar district last week, the CPI-M accused the saffron outfits of communalising the incident.

Two ‘sadhus’ and their driver, proceeding from Nashik to Surat, were cornered and lynched by a 200-strong mob outside Gadchinchle village in Palghar district on April 16 in the presence of police personnel amid rumours that they were robbers or child kidnappers.

Quoting a tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, CPIM politburo member Mohammend Salim said, “The CPI-M MLA you’re talking about has given Rs 10 lakh relief from his MLA fund to help daily wage labourers during this lockdown and I’m sure if he had a MBBS degree, he would have even been volunteering in hospitals instead of communalising a crime on Twitter.”

It was a dig at Patra, who also is a doctor by profession. Patra had tweeted: “It was in the Dahanu assembly constituency in Maharashtra’s Palghar district where the killing of saints took place. This region is the stronghold of the CPI (M). The MLA here is also from the Communist party. NCP also has an alliance with CPI (M) in the region. This murder is the work of Marxist goons and hence the entire Left brigade is silent.”

The President of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and CPI-M central committee member Ashok Dhawale also hit out at BJP leaders, saying: “Sambit Patra and Sunil Deodhar are not only communalising the incident, but also spreading downright lies. The sarpanch of the Gadachinchle village where the mob lynching took place belongs to the BJP, her name is Chitra Choudhari. Many BJP men have been arrested for killing these sadhus.”

Earlier, BJP National Secretary Sunil Deodhar had alleged: “No adivasi in India can attack a saffron clad person unless brainwashed over the years.”

This political mudslinging only got complicated after the Vishva Hindu Parishad too jumped into the fray earlier in the day.

VHP Secretary General Milind Parande called the incident an “ambush” against “two venerated saints” and alleged that the incident was part of a “deeper conspiracy”.

“Many times in the past, there have been incidents of brutal violence inspired by Leftists in this area. The killers and their accomplices should be punished at the earliest after a high-level investigation into their involvement in this brutal incident,” Parande said.

Parande claimed that “activities of Leftists have been going on in Palghar these days on a high pitch”. “Mob lynchings are part of the Left’s own action plan. The country has not forgotten the heinous murder of Swami Lakshmanananda,” he added.

Swami Lakshmanananda was assassinated in August 2008 along with his disciples in Odisha’s Kandhamal district.

On the night of April 16, an aggressive mob of around 200 villagers flouting all lockdown norms had accosted a vehicle in which the two sadhus were travelling from Nashik to Surat with some relief materials late.

Suspecting them to be thieves, the crowd started questioning them before brutally assaulting then with sticks, rods and stones. When the police team reached the spot and took them to their van, the crowd swooped on the police van and continued to assault them.

The victims were later identified as Sushilgiri Maharaj, 30, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri, 70, and their driver Nilesh Telwade, 30. As many as 110 people have been rounded up in connection with the case.