The Criminal Investigation Department of the Maharashtra Police on Wednesday took over the investigation into the lynching of three men in Palghar district last week, the Hindustan Times reported.
This came a day after the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the Maharashtra Police chief over the case, stating the “incident is apparently indicative of negligence by public servants”. The commission also sought a detailed report within four weeks, including action taken against the culprits, and relief, if any, granted to the family members of the three men. The Maharashtra government had announced that a high-level inquiry had been set up to look into the case.
On the night of April 16, three Mumbai residents, who were on their way to Silvassa, were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village of Palghar district on the suspicion that they were thieves.
A large mob of villagers had surrounded the car of the three men and started attacking them with sticks and iron rods, leading to the death of all three occupants. The victims were reportedly local religious leaders from Kandivali, who had first tried to take the National Highway to Silvassa but were stopped by police officials enforcing the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh shared the list of 101 people taken into custody in connection with the lynching, and said none of those arrested were Muslim.
In a video message posted on his official Facebook page, Deshmukh reiterated that none of the accused in the incident belonged to the Muslim community. “It is unfortunate that communal politics is being played following the incident,” he added. “Some people are having pipedreams about politicising the issue... it is not the time to play politics, but to fight the coronavirus collectively.”
The home minister also shared the complete list of arrested people on Twitter “for those who were trying to make this a communal issue”.
On Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had assured people there was no communal angle in the incident, and said that all accused in the Palghar lynching case will be brought to justice. “Nobody guilty in this heinous crime and shameful act will be spared and they will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible,” he had said.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh had said the police is keeping an eye “on those who are trying to create a rift in society by giving this a controversial spin”.