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Palghar Incident: A Grotesque Act Against Humanity

Sushmita Mishra, Student, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi

Pratiksha Priyadarsini, Student, New Law College, BVDU, Pune

[NOTE: The expressions are the authors' personal views and Nyayshastram does not endorse them]


The gory saffron that kissed the soil, the soil that could not save her sons, the blood-spattered sticks that saw no bounds and the eyes that unsaw every scene. Lady Justice is bemoaning the beam balance that is outweighed now, and her black blindfold is tainted red with the futile deaths that blotched her sky black.

The imagery resonates with the culmination of everything that began on April 16, 2020. Two Hindu Sadhus, Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri, and Sushilgiri Maharaj departed for Surat to attend the funeral rites of an acquaintance. Accordingly, the two hired a vehicle driven by Nilesh Yelgade to go from Kandivali to the desired destination. While trying to circumvent from being halted on their journey, the three seemed to have taken the byways of Palghar district to enter Gujarat rather than using the Mumbai-Gujarat Highway. This wrong turn was of no avail. They were pulled over by a guard of the forest department near Gadchinchle village[1].


While they were sorting things out with the forest guard, an unanticipated turn of events led to a vigilante gathering. They were ambushed. Like a nuclear chain reaction, this tussle soared to insurmountable heights. Calls were made to Kasa Police Station. Four cops arrived and attempted to assuage the scrimmage, but the situation was outrageously out of hands. The mob overturned their vehicle. In the video evidence, shot by spectators, one can assertively see three men grovelling in the overturned vehicle, and to add to the tragedy, it was also pelted with stones, wooden logs, and axes.


It has been stated that the police tried to save the victims, but it can be corroborated from the viral video shreds of evidence that it was all perfunctory. The Sarpanch managed to get one sadhu to sit inside the chowki because he had been injured and put the other two in another police vehicle. However, suddenly, when police were escorting the man from the chowki into the police vehicle, the attack began again and ended after some time by taking the sacrifice of the life of three innocent human souls. More police contingents said to have arrived but to no salvation.


Gadchinchle Sarpanch Chitra Choudhari recalled that the mob had mistaken the Sadhus as impersonators who trafficked organs of children of their village and hence, in all likelihood, found it apposite to do away with them. Wonder what shall remain of this country if people started killing people to satisfy their inner insecurities. If this was the excuse, then it is the most shameless way to handle such profound matters, toying human lives to utter decimation.

In conformity to an article by Organiser, the roots of these cut-throat trace way back to 1965 when Hindu Seva Sangha’ was established in Theronda village of the Palghar district with an initiative to remove social, economic and educational backwardness. The social-economic infrastructure that this organisation intended to develop was genuinely appealing to the society that led to its spike in popularity. This was unsettling for the left-leaning institutions, including the Christian missionaries and the longing insecurity, started violence which took an ugly shape leading to loss of lives. So, this aids us to surmise that the history of Palghar district speaks of the long tradition of violence led by left-leaning organisations like CPM[2].

It is said that the sight of blood to crowds begets thirst for more, as the first cup of wine leads to the long revel. The bloodlust in Palghar lynching was indeed inhumane, but figuratively stating, what will you do when those sworn to protect you slit your throat? Around 20 police personnel were present, including forest guards, and they just had to secure three individuals. According to video clips, they merely seemed like mute spectators, incapable of doing justice to their uniform[3]. It was like a drowning person was flapping his arms for help, but the 'help' sat on his shoulders and sank him deeper. Tragically, no amount of hyperbole can tantamount to dereliction of duty of this sort.


What is the matter of utter shock is that those police officers got transferred but did not meet with any other repercussions. The inaction on the part of Maharashtra government is also damnable, as it is substantially ridiculous as to how intransigent they are at stating this matter as a case of mistaken identity[4]. This is India, not Russia or America and in India, there is nobody who cannot recognise two saffron wearing sadhus as Hindu monks. So, they, presumably, think that they can make the illness go away by ignoring it, too smug to acknowledge the fact that how vile this kind of mute handicap can be. It can also be assumed that they are surely saving themselves from any indictment, as a wrong done by a police officer vehemently propounds mismanagement on Government's part as per statutory laws. There has been an update regarding the sudden death of the young lawyer, who was fighting for the Sadhus and the driver, in an unfortunate car crash.


Also, the unabashed exhibition of necrotic moral compass was said to be graced by the presence of National Congress Party Leader Kashinath Choudhary. However, the sarpanch, who is a BJP member, her husband, and women from a hamlet across the road, said the NCP leader’s arrival appeared to energise the mob, and some began to chant: ‘Dada aala, Dada aala’ (big brother is here). The NCP man is seen in the video clips of the incident, wearing a T-shirt, standing back from the assailants[5]. The aforesaid provides incontrovertible proof of a more disreputable image. All this and more, undeniably, points towards one fact, in all this shifty questionable madness, and that is the downright collapse of law and order under this Aghadi Government’s tattered umbrella.


What is more, appalling is the disregard that the media has emphatically expressed on this matter. From petty animals doing circus tricks to engrossing celebrity fights, news channels broadcast everything, the non-disclosure of which could not, assuredly, kill a soul. This case is losing its momentum and all the gravity that it can have because the media fails to support it with its supreme power of stirring even dormant volcanoes. Probably, the media these days puts its bets on Hindu-Muslim brawls and is too fogged to see the light of essential media content.


This matter at hand is twisted, almost to a fault. This grave silence of the Government and the media insinuates, way too loudly, the covert controversies and ulterior motives of those in power. In one point of view, this numbing silence can also be attributed to varnish the guilt of 1966 Anti-cow Slaughter Agitation that took place under the Congress government and forestalls further upheaval. Ergo, the history has been, and the present continues to be evident of deaths in such mannerisms that brutally smothers humanity all and at once.

The Gulag Archipelago cites that “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise a thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age; we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” Moreover, the mighty truth can only set this kind of injustice to flames. The truth needs to be carved out in all its pristine intricacies with the finest of knives, and it needs to be dug out till we reach the parent rock for there are myriad matters still buried in this political quagmire.


The gruesome, inhuman and barbaric lynch by the mob and the active participation of the cops in the lynching and showing negligence towards their duty[6] was a sheer blatant disregard to Art 21- Right to Life of Indian constitution. They were innocent, helpless people who died in cold blood and excuses given by the perpetrators and the Government, under the garb of whatsoever reason, cannot justify this act of blood-thirst.


The menace of such mob lynching incidents could not be stopped until stringent laws are made to punish the perpetrators. Regardless of the number of individuals, every individual participating or abetting the crime of mob lynching should be punished severely. Also, laws should be made taking penal action against the public servants who stand accused due to the dereliction of duty.

[1] Zeeshan Shaikh, Palghar lynching: A recap of what happened, The Indian Express (24/04/2020), available at https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/palghar-mob-lynching-mahant-kalpavruksha-giri-6370528/, last seen on 24/05/2020 [2] Niyati Sharma, Palghar Lynching: An Attack on every Saffron Clad, Voice of the nation: Organiser (27/04/2020), available at https://www.organiser.org/Encyc/2020/4/27/Palghar-Lynching-An-Attack-on-Every-Saffron-Clad.html, last seen on 24/05/2020

[3] Srinath Rao, Maharashtra: Lynching in Palghar right under police nose, probe ordered, The Indian Express (21/04/2020), available at https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharahstra-lynchings-in-palghar-right-under-police-nose-probe-ordered-6371722/, last seen on 24/05/20 [4] Amit Bandre, Lynching of Sadhus in Palghar: Shocking lapses by authorities, The New Indian Express(22/04/2020), available at https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/editorials/2020/apr/22/lynching-of-sadhus-in-palghar-shocking-lapses-by-authorities-2133514.html, last seen on 24/05/20 [5] Kavitha Iyer, Palghar lynching: Sarpanch says she watched attack for 2 hrs, NCP leader couldn’t control mob either, The Indian Express (23/04/2020), available at https://indianexpress.com/article/india/palghar-lynching-sarpanch-says-she-watched-attack-for-2-hrs-ncp-leader-couldnt-control-mob-either-6374896/, last seen on 24/05/2020 [6] Shruti Mahajan, Supreme Court seeks status report from Maharashtra in plea seeking court-monitored probe into Palghar lynching incident, Bar and Bench (1/05/2020) available at https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/supreme-court-seeks-status-report-from-maharashtra-in-plea-seeking-court-monitored-probe-into-palghar-lynching-incident, last seen on 29/06/30

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