The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Maharashtra top cop over Palghar lynching case in which three people including two Hindu ascetics were killed, allegedly in the presence of police on April 16, 2020, during the national lockdown.
A press release on Tuesday from the human rights body said Maharashtra DGP has been asked to submit a detailed report within four weeks which should also include action taken against the culprits and the relief offered to victims’ kin.
“The death of three persons in such a cruel manner by the unruly mob that too during the countrywide lockdown, under extra vigil by the administration and police, amounts to gross violation of the right to life of the victims,” the NHRC notice said.
The victims identified as 70-year-old Kalpavruksha Giri, 35-year-old Sushil Giri—both Hindu sadhus– and their driver Neelesh Telgade, were lynched last Thursday in Gadhchinchale village, 110km from Palghar. The victims were reportedly attempting to go to Gujarat to attend the last rites of their religious guru but were attacked by a mob that apparently mistook them for child-lifters.
A video of the incident went viral on Sunday, where unarmed policemen were seen watching the incident without making any intervention.
The incident led to a political controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacking the Shiv Sena led state government for alleged negligence and cover-up claiming its handling of the incident was political as it involved Hindus.
The NHRC notice also cites media reports to question alleged police inaction.
“The video of the attack on the deceased persons went viral, on 19.04.2020, which showed that police personnel were also present when the victims were being attacked,” the NHRC communication on the matter said.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has warned against communalisation of the incident and he was backed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar who said it was not the time for settling old political scores.
Uddhav said swift action had been taken in the case with arrests of over 100 suspects including five key accused. He added that two policemen had also been suspended for dereliction of duty. A probe by additional director general (CID) has also been ordered into the case