Barbaric is the only word that comes to mind when one thinks of what happened in Palghar, where two Juna Akhara Sadhus- Chikane Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70) and Sushil Giri Maharaj (35), and their driver Nilesh Telgane (35) were lynched to death by a bloodthirsty, 200-strong mob.
Several videos of the mob lynching have gone viral, and the most disturbing part is how the police watches over the entire barbarity as the helpless Sadhus constantly plead for help. In one of the videos, faint voices can be heard from within the mob saying, “goli maaro (shoot them)”, a little later when the 70-year old Sadhu is escorted towards the mob, you can again hear someone say, “ishko maaro (kill him)”.
The Sadhu seems terrified, so he holds on the policeman’s hand tightly even as a man standing behind him kicks him ruthlessly. The 70-year old Sadhu, with his head bleeding, meanwhile holds the policeman’s hand even more tightly believing that he would save him from the mob of ruthless executioners. But soon his saffron robes would be soaking red with blood in the land of Shivaji Maharaj and Balasaheb Thackeray.
The policeman however hands him to the mob and steps aside, leaving it for the mob to brutalise him. The frail Sadhu badly outnumbered tries to run away with all the strength that he could muster, but the mob corners him and pins him down beating him with lathis (sticks).
भीड़तंत्र का ऐसा भयंकर रूप।पालघर में जूना अखाड़े के दो साधुओं की निर्मम हत्या पर अखिल भारतीय अखाड़ा परिषद ने सख़्त कार्यवाई की माँग की है।कोरोना संकट के बीच भी लिंचिंग! इनको लाठी डंडों के साथ खून की प्यासी भीड़ के बीच क्यों छोड़ा गया? pic.twitter.com/fxbFFDlzmr
— Anjana Om Kashyap (@anjanaomkashyap) April 19, 2020
Other videos of the incident have gone viral too, and in one of the videos you can see several policemen- the number of policemen certainly sufficient to keep a mob at bay, but they simply step aside, almost complying with the mob which then pounces upon the Sadhu, beating him to death.
The helpless Sadhu tries to hold a policeman and pleads for help several times but the policeman turns him away every single time.
2 संतो की लिंचिंग ,पुलिस के सामने
पीट पीट कर मार डाला…!
बहुत ही दर्दनाक…कड़ा एक्शन
2 Saints mob #Lynched to death in front of @DGPMaharashtra in #Maharashtra Pls act @OfficeofUT @Dev_Fadnavis @AmitShah @narendramodi @swati_gspic.twitter.com/wyW5DyHeBR
— Debashish Sarkar 🇮🇳 (@DebashishHiTs) April 19, 2020
The mainstream media has meanwhile claimed that the Sadhus and their driver were lynched by the mob on suspicions of theft, and the police too say that the mob mistook the Sadhus and their driver, who were headed towards Gujarat to attend the last rites of their Guru, Mahant Ramagiri, for thieves and killed them due to such rumours.
The Juna Akhara statement however states that the killer mob surrounded the vehicle of the Sadhus, killed them and also looted cash worth Rs. 50,000/- and also the gold ornaments used for decorating idols. It seems unlikely that a mob should kill Sadhus mistaking them for thieves and then start looting them.
Cry, o my beloved brethren, for this is the fate our saints meet now!
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः, न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः।। pic.twitter.com/kYlcmcAJ7E
— Shubhendu (@BBTheorist) April 19, 2020
And what were the police even doing in Palghar? They allowed a mob to gather during a lockdown and lynch two Sadhus and their driver to death. Even spineless sounds like an understatement for such dastardliness, and why would the police personnel hand over Sadhus to mobs just like that?
Remember, Juna Akhara is the oldest Akhara of Sadhus in India and it had ordained a Dalit Sadhu as “Mahamandaleshwar” two years ago. Anti-Brahmanical sentiment is a major political issue in Maharashtra and several parties have survived on Brahmin bashing, but an Akhara ordaining a Dalit priest as the “Mahamandaleshwar” is a huge threat to the anti-Brahmanical political sentiment.
#Palghar is a strong communist and leftist belt.
The #police practically handed over the victims to the locals because they were in saffron.
Either the HM @AnilDeshmukhNCP has no control over the police OR maybe @CMOMaharashtra has no control over his ministers#palgharlynching
— Shweta Shalini (@shweta_shalini) April 19, 2020
A large number of NGOs also work in #Palghar-Dahanu area. Wife of one of my Profs at TISS used to run a tribal rights NGO there which had huge funding from missionaries. @SwarajyaMag also did a story on the prevalence of Christian Missionaries in Palghar.https://t.co/J2aJQAmsQ2 pic.twitter.com/zCvhvJGJWN
— Shubhendu (@BBTheorist) April 19, 2020
christian Missionaries abuse Hindu dieties and ask ppl to accept Jesus. They say Maruti is a monkey and ganpati is an elephant, how can such false gods protect you.
This is happening in Palghar district (shared by a follower) pic.twitter.com/X1BHwWKO0r
— No Conversion (@noconversion) April 30, 2019
What happened in Palghar is not business as usual, it is a case of saffron robes turning red with Sadhus’ blood in a Red bastion with the police and state government almost complying with the medieval-era barbarity on display.