BJP’s national vice-president and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday demanded of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray a case of murder against policemen who allegedly assisted the mob lynching of sadhus in Palghar in the state. Instead of saving the saints, she said, “the police handed them over to the mob”, she said.
Uma Bharti said in a letter to Chief Minister Thackeray, “A mob killed sadhus in Palghar. This is a heinous crime in terms of law and a great sin in terms of dharma. You are the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. You have not done this act yourself, but this heinous act has happened in the state you rule. All the culprits in this will have to be punished.”
Uma Bharti demands Section 302
The firebrand sadhvi said, “The policemen, whose hands the sadhus held and pleaded for protection, handed the hapless saints over to the mob, freed themselves and broke away.” Those policemen, Uma Bharti said, should be accused of murder too. “They should be booked under Section 302 of the IPC (which deals with murder). If they wanted, they could have saved the sadhus by firing in the air.”
Uma Bharti further wrote, “I request you to punish all the murderers including those policemen harshly. Otherwise, you will be a partner to the sin yourself.” She said, “Today I am fasting at my residence in Bhopal for atonement and I have appealed to the sadhu samaj to fast for a day too — while staying at my place.”
Uma Bharti said that I also expect that stringent action will be taken against the culprits. She said whenever the lockdown imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus ends, “I would definitely go to that place and stay there for a while and pray for those killed brutally and apologise to my country and society.”
Uma Bharti said, “I urge a sensitive person like you (Uddhav Thackeray) to take drastic action for this massive act of violence in the state. I believe you will do it.”
On 16 April, three people, including two saints from Mumbai, were travelling by car to Surat in Gujarat but were returned from the border. On their way back, the police allegedly told them the jungle route would be better. A mob then ambushed them and hit them with sticks to death.
Sinha does not buy police’s defence
While more than 100 people have been arrested in this case, sources in the police say the cops Anandrao Marathe and Subhash Katare were helpless as firing would have provoked thousands of others to join the lynch mob. Supreme Court’s senior lawyer Amitabh Sinha, who had demanded prosecution of all those involved in the conspiracy yesterday while speaking to Sirf News, said this defence was untenable.
“Among the various jobs of the police is negotiations with an irate crowd. The cops could have bought time until reinforcements arrived by holding talks with a few from the crowd,” Sinha said. He had refused to believe yesterday that the mob was as string as 200 odd people. “They were 60-70 odd people — all motivated communist cadre,” he said.
Alleging that the only CPM MLA in Maharashtra from the Dahanu constituency where the lynching took place, Vinod Bhiva Nikole, had turned rogue under the aegis of the INC and NCP-supported Shiv Sena government, Sinha called Thackeray a “helpless chief minister” while talking to Sirf News today.
Naga saint demands stronger action
Meanwhile, naga saint Balakpuri in Hazaribagh is livid over the killing of sadhus from the Dasnama Juna Akhara in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. He said that this murder has been done under a conspiracy.
“This is a murder committed by a political mob,” Sant Balakpuri said, adding, “Today we see a new version of 1966. This is the cultural murder of India, the killing of Naga Sadhus, the protectors of Sanatanis (Hindus).”
“The naga army will no longer remain silent. Now all the fighters of Juna Akhara will come to the field to save sanatana dharma. It is now time to sacrifice again,” the naga saint said.
Balakpuri urged the union government to sack the government of Maharashtra and impose Section 302 of the IPC (charge of murder) on the assailants, members of the administration and all others who conspired for this homicide, furthering the demand that Sinha had made yesterday while speaking to Sirf News.
Asking for an immediate arrest of all culprits, the naga saint demanded the institution of a fast-track court for the trial.