BJP MLA detained ahead of protest march over Palghar lynching

·4-min read

(Eds: Adding fresh info, quotes of Kadam & Cong) Mumbai, Nov 18 (PTI) BJP MLA Ram Kadam and some of his supporters were detained in Mumbai on Wednesday when they were planning to take out a march to Palghar over their demand for a CBI probe into the lynching of three persons there in April this year, a police official said.

Kadam, who was later released, alleged that the police detained him under the Maharashtra governments pressure, while the ruling Congress charged the BJP with playing politics over the Palghar mob lynching incident.

The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is at present conducting an investigation into the case.

In the morning, Kadam's supporters, carrying placards and banners, were planning to travel to neighbouring Palghar to light diyas at the place where two monks and their driver were lynched by a mob in April, and seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident.

However, before Kadam could start his 'Jan Akrosh yatra', the police reached near the MLA's residence in suburban Khar and detained him and some of his supporters, a senior police official said.

Kadam and his supporters were taken to Khar police station and later released.

Some BJP office-bearers were also detained at Manor in Palghar district while they were on their way to join Kadam in the protest march.

Palghar Superintendent of Police Dattatreya Shinde said the Kasa police in the district had earlier served a prohibitory notice to Kadam, but despite that he and his supporters tried to go ahead with the yatra, hence they were detained in Mumbai.

Their visit could give rise to law and order issues and disturb the peace, hence the notice was issued, he said.

On April 16, two monks and their driver, who were heading towards Surat from Mumbai in a car, were beaten to death by a mob in Palghar's Gadchinchlale village on suspicion that they were child-lifters.

Around 186 people have so far been arrested and 11 juveniles detained in connection with the incident, according to police.

Talking to reporters after he was released by the police, Kadam alleged that the cops detained him under the Maharashtra governments pressure, and condemned the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for stopping his yatra 'forcibly'.

Kadam, who was joined by another BJP leader Narayan Rane, reiterated that the probe into the alleged killing of seers in Palghar be handed over to the CBI.

'We prayed to the police to allow us to proceed with the yatra, that we be allowed to go to the land where the seers were beaten to death. We wanted to light lamps there.

Is lighting lamps an offence?' he asked.

'We respect the police...the police are under the Maharashtra governments pressure, it is stopping our Jan Akrosh Yatra. We will not tolerate this suppression,' he said.

While supporting Kadam, Rane said the Shiv Sena is no more a 'Hindutvavadi' party.

'It got into power committing betrayal. (Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray does not follow Hindutva ideology. He compromises (ideology) for post,' alleged Rane, who is a former Shiv Sena leader.

The Shiv Sena and BJP parted ways last year following differences over sharing the chief ministerial post in Maharashtra. The Sena then joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form the MVA government.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant accused the BJP of playing politics over Palghar mob lynching and said it is seeking a CBI probe into the incident to save some of the accused who are associated with the saffron party.

In a series of tweets, Sawant said Palghars Gadchinchale village, where the incident took place, has a BJP sarpanch for the past 10 years.

He also accused BJP leaders of keeping quiet over the alleged killings of sadhus in states where the party is in power, and said its 'hypocrisy and mindset of using religion for politics is condemnable'.

Sawant said '225 arrests have been made in connection with the Gadchinchale village mob lynching incident' so far, and action was taken against some police personnel also for 'dereliction of duty.

The case is being probed by the CID and judicial process is also on, he said.

'Still, the BJP is playing politics on the issue after seven months. The Gadchinchale village concerned is a citadel of the BJP. The sarpanch is of the BJP for the past 10 years.

'Majority of the people arrested along with the accused number 61 and 65 are of the BJP. The CBI probe is being demanded to save the accused associated with the BJP,' Sawant alleged. PTI DC ENM COR GK GK