Palghar Mob Lynching, Again We Confuse Crime With Communalism

It’s been four days since three men, including two wearing saffron robes, were brutally beaten and killed in Maharashtra’s Palghar district. But the emergence of shocking video footage on Sunday, has revived conversation around the latest case of senseless mob violence.

As is usually the case, much of this conversation went on to take both a communal and political flavour on Twitter, with hashtags like #JusticeForHinduSadhus and #UddhavWorstCMEver trending alongside #PalgharMobLynching for most of the day.

Gaurav Goel@goelgauravbjp

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s rule
Sadhus were protected.

Balasaheb Thackrey Rule
Sadhus were respected

Uddhav Thackrey rule
Sadus are brutally killed. #PalgharMobLynching #justiceforhindusadhu #?????_??_???????

4,0168:05 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy2,295 people are talking about this

The incident has also led to several voices questioning why the crime was apparently downplayed by sections of the media, which reported a couple of days ago that the violence was sparked off by a rumour that the men were thieves.

Varun Jhaveri@Varun_Jhaveri

How will we ever unsee the visuals of #PalgharMobLynching! So many Q’s:
1. Why were people outside their homes in lockdown?
2. Why did these visuals come after 2 days while media reported ‘thieves’ were murdered?
3. Why did police not protect?
4. Why is no TV media reporting?6671:04 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy386 people are talking about this

It didn’t take too long for BJP leaders to join the conversation, with a few implying that the 110 adivasis who were arrested for the crime on the same day, had political backing and were carrying out “appeasement politics” on behalf of their “masters”.

This led to several hateful messages, including a few unfortunately calling for the deaths of more men.

khemchand sharma@SharmaKhemchand

Mob lynching of 2 Hindu Sadhus in #Palghar undertook by terrorist since they are having political backing of ruling INC & Congress because of their appeasement politics and #UdhavThackeray is useless and just a puppet of Madam.

We demand #JusticeForHinduSadhus#UddhavWorstCMEver1222:19 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy60 people are talking about this

Prashant Kanojia@PJkanojia

Hello @MumbaiPolice can u look at this profile. This man is calling to kill 13 people on Palghar incident. @AnilDeshmukhNCP Kindly look into the matter. This people are trying to instigate violence. @Palghar_Police

1,30612:11 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy815 people are talking about this

Despite these very vocal claims, however, there seemed to be no communal angle to this act of violence. A number of reports — as well as the state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh — later clarified that both attackers and the victims belonged to the same community.

Janta Ka Reporter@JantaKaReporter

Lynching of 2 Sadhus in Maharashtra’s Palghar: Perpetrators and victims belonged to same religion. Maharashtra Home Minister warned of action against hatemongers peddling fake news #PalgharMobLynching …Lynching of 2 Sadhus in Palghar: Perpetrators and victims belonged to same religion; Maharashtra…Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh confirmed that there was no communal angle to the lynching of three people including two sadhus in Palghar.jantakareporter.com4066:15 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy335 people are talking about this

According to The Wire, the men who were attacked belonged to the “Shri Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara”, a nomadic tribal community. The report adds that this isn’t the first time members of the same community have been attacked by mobs in Maharashtra. In 2018, five persons were lynched in the tribal hamlet, Dhule.

Swami Avdheshanand@AvdheshanandG

The brutal killing of Juna Akhara Sadhus in Palghar is shocking and highly condemnable. Strict action must be taken to address this inhuman act of violence. #BeatTheVirus #PalgharMobLynching @HMO @ani_digital @aajtak @DGPMaharashtra @ABPNews @JagranNews @TimesNow @republic @UN24.9K7:00 AM – Apr 20, 2020 · Haridwar, IndiaTwitter Ads info and privacy8,921 people are talking about this

Still, one religion in particular became the target of online trolls. Several tweeters used this incident to call out the country’s “secular” citizens, while others questioned why Muslims were choosing to remain silent. As a journalist pointed out…

Rohini Singh@rohini_sgh

We now live in a time where Muslims are expected to feel guilty about a horrific crime that they had nothing to do with. #PalgharMoblynching11.3K12:48 AM – Apr 20, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy3,279 people are talking about this

With fake news emerging as the second most prolific virus in our country over the last few weeks of lockdown, no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had to step in. The official PMO account tweeted on Sunday that our response to this pandemic should “attach primacy to brotherhood”.

PMO India@PMOIndia

COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking.

Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood.

We are in this together: PM @narendramodi76.5K5:15 PM – Apr 19, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy24.4K people are talking about this

Let’s hope his latest plea is met with the same enthusiasm as others have in the past.

This article was first published in Arre

All views expressed here are personal and of the author(s) concerned. They do not represent Qrius Editorial Policy