Two police officers were suspended on Monday, April 20, for alleged negligence of duty after the brutal mob lynching of three men last week in Maharashtra's Palghar district.
The two officers, Assistant Police Inspector Anandrao Kale and Police Sub Inspector Sudhir Katare of Kasa police station, have been suspended until an inquiry is conducted into the mob lynching.
Over 100 suspects have been arrested so far.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he has spoken to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and assured him that he would look into the case. He further said that there is no communal angle involved in the crime.
"Those trying to inflame passions, must desist from doing so. There is no Hindu-Muslim angle or communalism in this attack. Two policemen were suspended immediately. The CID Crime will inquire into this incident and DGP Atul Kulkarni will lead the probe," Thackeray tweeted.
"Do not try to create misunderstandings. I spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji. Amitji knows there is no communal angle here. I told him we must search for all those fanning passions on social media," he added.
Of the three deceased, two people identified as Kalpvrush Giri (70) and Sushil Giri (35) were sadhus, while the third person, identified as Nilesh Telgane, was the driver of the car. They were travelling towards Surat to attend the funeral of a common acquaintance, reported NDTV.
According to the police, last week, the three men were coming from Mumbai in a van when the local residents stopped them on the Dhabadi-Khanvel road near Gadchinchle village and attacked them. A police vehicle from Kasa, which arrived at the location to stop the mob, was also attacked. The mob also beat up the police, injuring at least three officials. While the three victims were taken to the hospital, they were declared brought dead.
The three victims were taken to the hospital, and were declared brought dead.
In a video of the incident that has surfaced online, one of the victims can be seen pleading with Assistant Sub Inspector, who walks away, without offering any help as the mob attacks the victim with sticks.
"The video only shows half the story. It does not show that we first rescued the men and took them inside the van. One of our colleagues has health issues and could not have fought back. Twenty policemen could not have fought back against a mob of 500," Kale told The Indian Express.
Only two days before the incident, a similar attack had happened on a Thane-bound car with two doctors and their driver at Sarni Patilpada village. Police officers Kale and Katare were also present at the village 60 km from Gadchinchle. Despite this, only a four-member team went to the spot when the three men were attacked in Gadchinchle.
"The forest guard who called us only said there is an incident and that a few people had gathered. As soon I got there, I called for a backup. At night, we do not have as many people on duty as in the day. Sixteen people rushed from Kasa police station and the SP and around 300 other policemen reached two hours later as they were in Palghar town," Kale said.
The police have arrested 110 people, including nine minors. While the 101 accused have been sent to police custody till April 30, the minors have been sent to a juvenile home, police said.
"110 ppl have been arrested in this case out of which 9 are juvenile. 101 people have been remanded in police custody till 30th while 9 have been sent to the juvenile home. Further investigation is going on in the matter. An enquiry has also been initiated to look into the incident," Palghar Police said in a tweet.
"The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police have arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself," Thackeray had tweeted on Sunday night.
"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 added.