Palghar lynch mob accuses three men of theft, kills them

The three men were reportedly on their way to Surat to attend a funeral


Three men from Kandivali in Mumbai, who were driving to a funeral in Surat, were lynched by a group of villagers in Gadhchinchle, in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, on Thursday night. The mob, which allegedly suspected the three men to be thieves, also attacked police that reached the spot, reported The Indian Express.

Palghar District Collector Kailas Shinde said, “As per preliminary information, one Sushil Giri Maharaj, who stays in an ashram in Kandivali, and two others, Jayesh and Naresh Yelgade, were travelling in a van which they had rented to travel to Surat to attend a funeral.”

However, in another report by the Mumbai Mirror, API Anandrao Kale told that publication that the men were travelling from Nashik. He said, “The men were travelling from an Eco van to Nashik. The vehicle was on the Dabhadi-Khanvel Road when a mob of around 200 tribals stopped them.”

They were stopped by a sentry of the forest department near Gadhchinchle village after they had already covered a distance of 120 km. The villagers, mostly tribals, over the past few days, had formed vigilante groups over rumours that organ-harvesting gangs, child lifters and thieves were operating in the areas.

It was reported that around 10 pm on Wednesday night, while the three men in the car were having a conversation with the two forest guards, a few men, said to be part of the vigilante group, walked up to the car and got into an argument. The argument then intensified and the mob beat up the three, post which the forest guards called the Kasa police station.

Though a team of four policemen reached the spot, the mob had already overturned the car in which the three were travelling and even threatened the policemen. The mob also pelted stones, logs and axes at the overturned car and a video captured by bystanders showed men cowering in the vehicle.

Another police team of 12 also reached the site and got the men out of the car and put them in two separate vehicles, said Shinde. “However, the mob of around 400 people attacked our vehicles. Some of our policemen were injured as well,” he added.

However, the police’s allegedly passive role in the matter is being questioned after it was reported that the mob managed to get the three men out of the police vehicles and lynch them. The overpowered police party then called for backup, after which a larger police force managed to disperse the crowd and recovered the three bodies.

The police personnel were not seriously injured in the incident, it was said. Reacting to this allegation, Shinde said that he would investigate the decisions taken by the officers and their role during the incident.  

Palghar District Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh said that 110 villagers from Gadchinchle had been booked under charges of murder and attempt to murder, unlawful assembly and disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant.

Earlier too, a doctor who was conducting a medical camp in Saarni village in Kasa was also attacked by the tribals from a village in Palghar, after he was mistaken for a thief.

The postmortem of the three men is being conducted at Talasari at the Kasa Hospital and the police is also trying to investigate how the men reached there all the way from Kandivali despite the lockdown.


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