Six men were arrested on Wednesday in Maharashtra’s Sangli for assaulting four Hindu ascetics after suspecting them to be kidnappers, ANI reported.

The ascetics from Uttar Pradesh, who were travelling to Pandharpur in Maharashtra from Karnataka’s Bijapur in a car, stopped in Sangli’s Lavana village and asked a boy for directions.

The locals grew suspicious of the four ascetics and asked for their Aadhaar cards, reported NDTV. They got into argument, which quickly escalted into a fight. A video recording the assault was shared on social media.

Although the four ascetics did not register a complaint, the police took suo motu cognizance of the incident and booked the attackers for assaulting and rioting, Dixit Gedam, Sangli superintendent of police told NDTV.

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ram Kadam said that the government will take strict action against the attackers.

“In the sadhus killing case in Palghar, then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government meted out injustice to them,” Kadam told NDTV. “But the current Maharashtra government will not allow any injustice against any sadhu.”

In September 2020, when the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government was in power, a mob in Palghar district lynched three persons out of which two were Hindu ascetics, on the suspicion of being thieves. The state government had suspended eight policemen and transferred 35 personnel for not preventing the mob from lynching.