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M”rashtra mob-lynching sparks political slugfest



Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, Lok Sabha polls, Lok Sabha elections, Politics news

A political slanging match erupted on Monday between the ruling Congress, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (M) over the mob-lynching of two Sadhus (mendicants) and their driver in Palghar district on April 16.

Taking umbrage over Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath”s calls to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant termed it as a “deliberate attempt to defame the Maharashtra government”.

“The BJP is trying to politicise this incident by giving it a religious colour and the party should be ashamed of itself. It is a serious matter that those who could not handle many such (lynching) incidents in the state or in the country for the past five years are now trying to exploit it for petty gains,” Sawant said.

He said that Gadchinchle village, where the unfortunate incident occurred, has been a BJP stronghold for the past 10 years, and it has a BJP sarpanch, Chitra Choudhary, while a majority of those arrested in connection with the case belong to the BJP.

Sawant pointed out that there were wild rumours that the sadhus were robbers, others claiming they were Muslims disguised as sadhus out to kidnap kids, or spread coronavirus by spitting.

“What did the BJP leaders do to prevent such rumour-mongering? Why didn”t they try to stop the violent mobs? The state government has already ordered a CID probe into the matter and arrested 110 people. The police must also enquire thoroughly as to who was actually behind these rumour mills,” Sawant said.

Targeting the BJP and RSS for attempting to give a communal colour to the incident, CPI (M) leader Ashok Dhawale said that the police must also probe how the car with official permit was allowed to take a remote route on the Maharashtra border with Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, instead of travelling via the Mumbai-Surat National Highway, at that late hour during lockdown.

The CPI (M) also slammed BJP”s central and state leaders for making attempts to give the incident a communal colour and make false accusations against the Left party activists instead of going to the root cause of rumour-mongering that has been rampant in the district for the past few days.

Slamming Sawant for attempting to protect its ruling ally, Nationalist Congress Party, BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam sought to know whether the Home Department will probe how the NCP”s Zilla Parishad member Kashinath Choudhary was connected to a mob that built up that night.

Dismissing Congress-CPI(M) contentions on BJP sarpanch Chitra Choudhary, Kadam said that the villages near the scene of the crime have NCP-CPI(M) elected members.

Mumbai BJP Secretary Vivekand Gupta shot off an email to Mumbai Police demanding that complaints should be registered against Sawant and journalists S.S. Suryawanshi and Nikhil Wagle for “peddling fake news about lynching of 2 Hindu sadhus, indulging in disinformation and trying to create unrest in the society.”

Earlier on Monday, Thackeray said that the Centre has sought a report on the incident, but he ruled out the involvement of any communal groups in the case, which happened in a remote state border area accessible only via the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli in view of bad roads.

“There is no involvement of any religious or communal groups; it”s a mob-lynching case. Any person attempting to give it a communal colour will be dealt with strictly,” Thackeray warned.

The CM also said that so far five of the masterminds and another more than 100 persons, including nine minors, have been arrested, while two policemen have been suspended so far for the crime that took place amid the lockdown.

The two sadhus and their driver, proceeding from Nashik to Surat, were brutally lynched by a 200-strong mob outside the Gadchinchle village late on April 16 in a police vehicle amid rumours that they were robbers or kidnappers.

The mob also attacked the policemen and damaged two police vans, including one in which the sadhus were shifted by the cops.

The victims were: Chikne Maharaj Kalpavriksha Giri, 70, Sushilgiri Maharaj, 30, from the Shree Panch Dashnam Juna-Akhada order, and their driver Nilesh Telwade, 30.

The Palghar police have issued several appeals via social media and public messages exhorting people not to indulge or believe in rumours, refrain from attacks on any outsiders coming to their villages without making proper inquiries, and to summon the police for help whenever needed.


2020 will be known as year of internal discovery: Modi



The year just ending may be called by some as one of external disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic but for India, it will be known as a year of internal discovery, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, affirming that “reforms and resolve, resilience and responsibility will power our journey in the coming year”.

“Some may call the year 2020 as a year of external disruptions due to the pandemic. But I firmly believe that 2020 will be known, not as a year of external disruption, but as a year of internal discovery, for our citizens, for our society and for our nation,” Modi writes in a special article in the “Manorama Yearbook 2021”.

Noting that adversity not only builds strength “but also brings out our true innate character”, he writes that the pandemic “has brought to the fore India’s national character for the entire world to behold, as a resilient and united nation. Across the world, people have expressed wonder at the way in which Indians, whether poor or rich, young or old, rural or urban, have shown the ability to be responsible, disciplined, focused, law-abiding, patient and composed during a crisis of unprecedented proportions”.

“We have not only stayed firm in the face of trying circumstances but have also helped the world – India emerged as a pharmacy to the world, sending life-saving drugs and medicines far and wide, at the same time ensuring no shortage to our own people,” Modi writes.

Even as the country and the people were battling a once-in a-century health pandemic, various parts of the country faced devastating cyclones and other such hardships. “However, the central government, various state governments, and people from across the country came together to face these challenges.” “Our nation’s resilient spirit was complemented by our robust systems and institutions. Our physical infrastructure held together by the fabric of our society formed the foundation of our determined response. Our healthcare infrastructure was tested but never bested. Even as systems were crumbling in many other countries, our infrastructure scaled rapidly and immensely to help crores of people in various ways,” Modi writes.

Speaking about the future, he says India “is ready for an ambitious marathon” on the road to development in the coming decade.

“A slew of reforms across various sectors are strengthening our development trajectory. Earlier, reforms used to be hostage to political expediencies. However, political calculations matter only when a nation is aiming low. For an aspirational nation that wants to surge towards its destiny, no bar is high enough for us to leap over.

“Today, India is progressing rapidly towards the goal of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. An Aatamanirbhar Bharat means an India which is more competitive, an India which is more productive and an India which celebrates local talent. An Aatmanirbhar Bharat will increase India’s role in global supply chains by attracting more global businesses to India to take full advantage of India’s policy stability, low taxes and skilled human resources,” the Prime Minister writes.

A trinity of reforms in the fields of education, agriculture and labour laws will immensely help our students, farmers and youth and empower them with more choices and unlock their full potential while maintaining adequate safeguards for the vulnerable.

“We are also undertaking deregulation and de-criminalisation of offences under the Companies Act to increase the Ease of Doing Business. We are welcoming private enterprises in all sectors to improve competition and choice for the consumers. India is also one of the most open countries today when it comes to FDI, which is resulting in record inflows of FDI from across the world,” the Prime Minister writes.

The COVID-19 pandemic, Modi says, has reinforced the ability of technology to be a valuable bridge. From multi-nation summits to multi-national companies, everyone’s work had to go online. Despite the pandemic-induced disruption, it was the technological platform laid assiduously in the form of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) Trinity that helped the government reach the poorest of the poor with direct financial assistance worth lakhs of crores of rupees when even developed nations were struggling with archaic I.T. systems.

“In the coming year, there will be an even greater focus on self-reliance and resilience in technology. In the movement for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, technology-both as a domain and as an enabler-plays an important role. There is a buzz about India’s young and vibrant tech circles. Both the government and the tech ecosystem will continue working closely on strengthening the homegrown start-up and mobile app ecosystem.” The democratization of access will be a force multiplier to the power of technology. “It was India’s state-of-theart digital payments framework which ensured that commerce still connected small businesses with consumers in times of social distancing. To further power India’s tech revolution, we have already committed to taking broadband connectivity to over 1 lakh villages, and within the next 1,000 days, it will reach all 6 lakh villages of India,” the Prime Minister writes.


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