April 23, 2020.
By Sharvari Lohakare.
On Wednesday, a public interest litigation has been filed before the Bombay High Court to seek transfer of investigation of the recent Palghar mob lynching case to central Bureau of Investigation or as an alternative give directions to compose a Special Investigation Team to look into the case.
Alakh Alok Shrivastava filed this petition. He is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He has argued that the video clips of the said incident which led to the death of two sadhus show that the mob was attacking them with sticks and rods. The petitioner alleged that there were police personnel present at the spot who did not do anything to stop the mob, instead one officer pushed one of the sadhus towards the mob.
The petition relies on news report dates April 16. According to it, Ramgiri Maharaj, a spiritual guru passed away in Surat, Gujarat. Therefore two sadhus namely Sushil Giri Maharaj (35) and Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri (70) along with their driver Nilesh Telgane (35) started travelling from Kandivali in Mumbai to Surat, Gujarat to attend the last rites of Ramgiri Maharaj on April 16.
Report says they were stopped from taking the National Highway due to the current ongoing Coronavirus lockdown throughout the country and therefore they took a detour. When their vehicle reached near village Gadchinchle in the Palghar district, Maharashtra, they were reportedly taken into custody by the Palghar Police and kept in the police van. However, at that time, a large mob reportedly stopped their vehicle and dragged the sadhus out. The mob was armed with sticks and rods brutally attacked the two sadhusand their driver and killed all three of them in an extremely barbaric manner.
The PIL also states that various video clips of the said incident later surfaced on social media showing the police didn’t even try to help the deceased. When stocks and rods were rained on the elderly sadhu Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri, he clung to a uniformed cop for help. But the officer shrugged him allowing the mob to do what it was doing. In one video, Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri begged the mob to spare him but his cries didn’t move anyone.
At this stage a total of 101 people have been arrested and nine minors have been detained related to this incident. The two cops present at the spot have been suspended. The matter has been handed to the State CID for further investigation.
However, the petitioner argues that there are serious allegations against the police personnel themselves as to why they allow such a large gathering of people despite the ongoing lockdown and why they did not try to protect the afore mentioned deceased persons from this unruly mob. Thus the petition seeks Rs. 1 crore in compensation for the deceased driver who was also lynched along with the sadhus. Petitioner states that since the sadhus had renounced their worldly desires, the driver should receive compensation in the interest of justice. Moreover, the PIL seeks transfer of the case to CBI or specially constituted SIT on the orders of the court.