Palghar lynching happened after child-lifting rumour: Home Minister Anil Deshmukh

Mumbai: The Maharashtra CIDs chargesheet in the Palghar mob lynching case has concluded that the incident took place following a rumour about child-lifting, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

He said it was unfortunate that some parties had tried to give political colour" to the incident and made efforts to divide people on communal lines after the incident.

Deshmukh, however, did not name any party or individual.

Two monks and their driver were lynched by a mob at Gadchinchale village in Palghar on April 16 when they were travelling in a car to Surat (Gujarat) to attend a funeral amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, police earlier said.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Wednesday filed two chargesheets in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) at Dahanu taluka in Palghar district located adjoining Mumbai.

Deshmukh in a video message said, "The CID filed chargesheet in the court yesterday. They (the CID) have concluded that the incident was triggered by a rumour that children were being lifted in that area.

"At the time of the incident, some political parties unfortunately tried to give it a political colour. Some tried to create communal divide on Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Christian lines, he alleged.

The minister said the CID probed 808 people and arrested 154 of them in connection with the incident.

A team led by Special IGP (West) CID, Pravin Salunke, carried out the investigation during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

"It was the most challenging time of the pandemic and the investigation in the case was difficult as scores of people had to be called in for questioning," a senior official, who was part of the probe, said.

The teams had to camp in the area to collect intelligence, nab the accused and undertake searches or seizures in the area, he said.

Besides sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the accused were charged under relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act (since lockdown was in force during the incident), the Maharashtra Police Act and the Maharashtra Damage to Public Property (Prevention) Act, the CID said in a release.

They were charged with murder, armed rioting and using criminal force to prevent a public servant from doing is duty, among other offences.

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