Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take action against those giving communal colour to the lynching of three men by a mob in Palghar district.
The state government has already ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident that took place on April 16.
State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh earlier warned against giving any communal colour to the incident, as two of the three deceased were believed to be seers.
In a video message, Thackeray said he received a call on Monday from Amit Shah who himself said there is no communal angle to the Palghar mob lynching incident.
“I have urged him to initiate action against those who are giving a communal twist to the Palghar mob lynching, which is factually incorrect.
I also informed him that my government is definitely going to take action against the perpetrators,” Thackeray said.
Inspector General of Police (CID) Atulchandra Kulkarni will head the probe into the lynching incident, he said.
Thackeray said the three men lynched by the mob seemed to be victims of some rumour and there is no communal background to the incident.
“As per my information, the seers were on their way to Surat in Gujarat during the lockdown. They were stopped by Dadra and Nagar Haveli police and sent back to Maharashtra,” he said.
As they took a internal route passing through Gadchindhali village, which is 110 km away from Palghar district, they were stopped by locals who suspected them to be a gang of thieves stealing children, the chief minister said, adding that police vehicles were also attacked by the mob.
The village where the attack took place is barely a few kilometres from the border of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Union Territory, he pointed out.
“Over 110 people are arrested so far from Palghar, including five main accused. Two police officials have been suspended for dereliction of duty, he said. Out of the total accused, nine are juvenile and they have been sent to a remand home, Thackeray said.
“I have informed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had called seeking details about the incident, he said.
The chief minister on Sunday said stern action will be taken against those involved in the lynching of the three men.
He said those behind this heinous crime and shameful act will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible.
Deshmukh earlier said those who attacked and who died in the Palghar mob killings are not from different religions.
“I have ordered Maharashtra police and @MahaCyber1 to take action against anyone instigating communal hatred in the society or on social media,” he said in a tweet on Sunday.
Deshmukh said police are keeping an eye on those who wanted to use the incident to create a rift in society.
An assistant police inspector and a sub-inspector from Palghar were suspended on Monday for alleged dereliction of duty in the wake of the incident that took place on April 16 night when three men from Kandivali in Mumbai were going in a car towards Surat in Gujarat to attend a funeral.
Their vehicle was stopped near a village in Palghar.
The three were dragged out of their car and beaten to death with sticks by a mob on suspicion that they were thieves.
The deceased were identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30).