It has been one year since the barbaric mob lynching of two Juna Akhara Sadhus- Chikane Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70) and Sushil Giri Maharaj (35), and their driver Nilesh Telgane (35) in Maharashtra’s Palghar. Several videos of the disturbing incident had then gone viral on the internet and the conscience of the entire nation was shaken by how a blood-thirsty mob killed the innocent sadhus.
Yet, a year on, where does the case stand? The Palghar victims still await justice. A number of accused were arrested in connection with the case and some charge sheets have also been filed. Some individuals even approached the apex court, praying for CBI and NIA investigations to be conducted into the matter.
Media houses like Indian Express and Deccan Herald have claimed that the car of sadhus travelling to Surat was attacked by a mob of nearly 500 villagers. A total of 251 arrests were made in the case – first by police and then by the state-CID. Of those arrested, 13 were juveniles.
The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) Bhiwandi had however granted bail to nine accused in the lynching case after state-CID failed to file the final report within the prescribed period of 90 days. The parents of the nine minors sought bail through their lawyer, arguing that the CID had no evidence against them.
As of now, more than 70 of the total arrested accused are in custody. Three charge sheets have been filed and the trial has also started.
Throughout the past one year, the case kept coming into the news time and again. The Hindu, for example, reported in January that a special court in Maharashtra’s Thane district granted bail to 89 accused in the Palghar mob lynching case. Advocates Amrut Adhikari and Atul Patil had then submitted that the applicants did not have any role to play in the attack and that they were arrested by the police on mere suspicion.
Similarly, it was reported in December last year that 47 accused were granted bail in the mob lynching case. Apart from this, 10 accused were released on default bail in August last year, as no charge sheet was filed against them within the specified 90 days.
The Palghar lynching incident is one such crime, which remains fresh in public memory. The deceased, their relatives and the public at large is waiting for justice to be delivered in the heart-wrenching case. As such, nothing less than stern punishments for the guilty will soothe the shaken conscience of the society.