MUMBAI: Congress on Monday accused the BJP of playing politics on the Palghar incident in which three persons were lynched by a violent mob on the suspicion that they were thieves on April 16.
"I think the BJP is playing politics at a very, very disturbing moment in our society's history," senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, commenting on the incident of lynching.
On the night of April 16, three men from Kandivali in Mumbai on their way to Surat in Gujarat to attend a funeral were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village in Palghar district on the suspicion that they were thieves.
The three were dragged out of their car and beaten to death with sticks. The deceased were identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30).
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take action against those giving communal colour to the lynching incident. State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had warned against giving any communal colour, as two of the three deceased were believed to be seers.
Palghar Police had arrested 101 people in connection, while two policemen were suspended on Monday for alleged dereliction of duty.
In the wake of the incident, several BJP leaders slammed the Shiv Sena-led coalition government--also comprising the Congress and the NCP--for the "administrative" failure to protect the Hindu seers.
State Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant also accused the BJP of playing "communal politics" to derive a political mileage. The saffron party has refuted the charge and reiterated its demand to probe the role of the police in the incident.
"The village Divashi Gadchinchale is known as BJP bastion for last ten years including the post of village head. The current head is also from BJP. Most of the people arrested in the lynching incident are from BJP (sic)," Sawant tweeted.
However, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pravin Darekar refuted the charges raised by Sawant.
"Going by the people and their political affiliations, a zilla parishad member of Congress is also seen in the video footage available of the attack on the seers and their driver.
"So, should we say that the party (Congress) is behind the attack? We are talking about the failure of the police and home department, and not communalising it," he stated.