NEW DELHI: RSS-affiliated Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Monday demanded a time-bound and impartial enquiry into the lynching of two sadhus in Palghar in the presence of some police personnel last week amid rumours that they were child kidnappers.
The sadhus from Juna Akhara were on their way from Nashik to a village near Silvasa in Gujarat, where their guru, Ram Giri had passed away due to a heart attack, Prem Giri of Juna Akhara, an ancient sect of Hindu seers headquartered in Varanasi, said.
One of the deceased, Kalpavriksha Giri, 70, was a mahant (head priest) of the Hanuman temple in Trimbakeshwar in Nashik while the other, Sushilgiri Maharaj, 30, used to work in Kalibari temple in Mumbai.
“They had obtained the requisite passes…in our tradition of performing rituals of the Antoshti (last rites) of a Sadhu, he has to be buried in soil with his disciples present around him…that is why they decided to go,” Giri told ET. “Now we are being told there will be enquiry, but we have to see how impartial it is.”
VHP secretary general Milind Parande blamed the “activities of leftists” in Palghar for the incident, while Sharad Shelke, secretary of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram that works among scheduled tribes in remote areas, said the area needed “a de-radicalisation efforts of sorts”. “The hold of the communists here, as many of them are workers in local units, is very high,” he said.
Narendra Giri, president of All India Akhara Parishad, the apex body of seers, said the police and administration need to take responsibility as “they let a crowd of 200 people gather, and did not protect the sadhus who were already under police custody”. “If we don’t get a proper answer in the next two weeks, we plan to mobilise our sadhus against the Maharashtra government after the lockdown,” he said.
Sagar Shinde, a social worker who runs Vivek Vichar Manch, an RSS-backed organisation that has been actively working on the Bhima Koregaon issue, said the mistrust of outsiders in the communities here has been increasing, particularly after the recent anti-CAA, NRC protests. “Now, every outsider is being seen as an agent who will take away the rights of the communities,” he said. “It is important that the government reaches out to the tribal councils, the organisations that are active here, and understands who is behind these messages and incitement that have been going on for a year now.”