RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed fact-finding committee has blamed Left-wing organisations and Christian groups for the lynchings of two sadhus and their driver at Gadchinchale in Palghar on April 16. It has sought that the investigations be transferred to central agencies like the National Investigation Agency (NAI) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The killings of Chikane Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri, Sushil Giri Maharaj, driver Nilesh Telgade, were attributed to rumours about thieves or kidnappers in the guise of sadhus moving around in the area.

In a press conference on Tuesday, members of the fact-finding committee appointed by the Vivek Vichar Manch, charged that activities against the Constitution, democracy, and development were taking place in Palghar and an “anti-Hindu atmosphere” was being created. The committee was led by Justice (Retired) Ambadas Joshi.

The fact-finding team has alleged “a conspiracy to divide the tribals from Hindu traditions which appear to be supported by the Christian missionaries,” leading to anti-Hindu sentiments. It claimed Naxalite elements and Christian missionaries were active in the area, and also blamed the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for the incident.

The Manch has sought that the present investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were “misled” and “incorrectly handled” and hence, should be entrusted to the NIA and CBI.

Ashok Dhawale, central committee member, CPI-M, denied the allegations. “The BJP has its sarpanch in Gadchinchale village and many of the arrested accused belong to the party,” he said.

The BJP had initially tried to convert these killings into a Hindu-Muslim dispute, and had tried to corner the Uddhav Thackeray-led government using this. Now, these elements, which were responsible for spreading fake news on social media, leading to the lynchings, were trying to deflect the blame to the Left, charged Dhawale, stating that they would file cases of defamation against BJP leaders making such allegations.

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