The men accused of lynching three men in Palghar have been arrested and are in jail, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Monday. The Chief Minister also said he has spoken to Union home minister Amit Shah and assured him that he would look into the case. More than 100 people were taken into custody after the horrific attack on Thursday night at a spot barely 125 km from the country's financial capital Mumbai.
Indicating that the three men were attacked as a result of mistaken identity, the Chief Minister said the villagers heard rumours about the presence of thieves in the area and thought they were the culprits."Don't make it communal. There is no communal angle involved," he said.
A tweet from the Chief Minister's Office read: "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"..
Another tweet read, "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."
The village lies on the border of Dadra Nagar Haveli and the victims were trying to cross over when they were stopped by police on that side. They had to return to Maharashtra and were trying to take another route when they got attacked, Mr Thackeray said.
Two of the men killed were sadhus, the third was the driver of the car they were travelling in.
Shocking visuals from Gadchinchale village show locals armed with sticks and stones, attacking a police team as they tried to rescue the men. In one of several videos of the assault, a man can be heard shouting "Oye, isko maro (Hey, hit him)". The 70-year-old can be seen begging for his life.
Other videos show the villagers attacking a police car, shattering its windows and windshield, and pushing it till it rolls over.
District Collector Kailash Shinde said several policemen have been injured in the incident. "I want to appeal to everyone to not believe in rumours. No one is coming to steal from your village or take your child's kidneys. The villagers took the matter into their hands and we will take necessary action," he added.