Once again, the news of an attack on sadhus has arrived from Maharashtra. The report has albeit arrived a bit late. Antisocial elements attacked a temple priest and his assistant at about 12.30 AM in the night of 27 May.
Three assailants attacked the priest and co-workers at the Shiva temple at Dongar on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway In the Bhalivali area of Vasai taluka of District Palghar at around 12.30 AM on Wednesday night. They escaped with cash and other items from the donation box.
The police said they could not find or establish any pattern between this attack and the one in Palghar where two Hindus sadhus were lynched by a mob of suspected communist extremists.
Virar police station senior officer Suresh Varade said that police have registered a case against 3 accused under Section 394 and other Sections of the IPC and have started further investigation.
Police arrested one of the three suspects yesterday and recovered Rs 2,000 from him while two of the accused are still absconding.
The assailants reportedly attacked Sankaranand Dayanand Saraswati (54) and co-worker Shamsing Somasing Thakur (60) who are priests of the Jagrit Mahadev Temple in Bhalivli area.
In April, at the Casa police station in District Palghar, a mob of suspected Naxals had lynched two sadhus and their driver after spreading the rumour that they were child traffickers.
People are still questioning the integrity of Maharashtra Police. As many as 110 people were arrested following an FIR in the Palghar case. Of these, 101 were sent to police custody while the minors were sent to juvenile homes, but the sight of cops handing over the sadhus to the mob remains fresh in public memory. In that backdrop, the dismissive comment the police made when asked whether there was a pattern in the repeated attacks on sadhus in Maharashtra is less than convincing.