ICT’s Representation to Maharashtra CM on Palghar Lynching

ICT’s Representation to Maharashtra CM on Palghar Lynching

Honourable Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
State of Maharashtra

April 27, 2020

Dear Mr. Chief Minister:

We are a group of individuals, activists, and advocates representing The Indic Collective Trust, an organization founded in 2017 with the objective of advocating, through Constitutional and democratic means, for the right of the Indic/Dharmic way of life to exist and thrive. In less than three years of its existence, the Trust has initiated several projects and campaigns, including legal actions in matters of civilizational and national importance before High Courts and the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

In particular, the well-being of Dharmic institutions, their autonomy, safety, dignity and sanctity feature right at the top of our list of priorities. This naturally includes the safety and dignity of our Dharmagurus given that Bharat has always been the land of Rishis and Munis and will continue to be so. Precisely because of this land’s legendary veneration of its seers, we write to you with deep anguish at the gruesome lynching of two Sadhus of the Juna Akhara, Shri Chikane Maharaj Kalpavrikshgiri, and Shri Sushil Giri Maharaj along with their local driver, Shri Nilesh Telgane on April 16, 2020.

The fact that certain officials of the State Police were an active and willing accomplice in this unforgivable crime, has deeply disturbed us as it has stunned a wide section of the Hindu society. We understand that the demographics of the Palghar district and the systematic anti-Hindu radicalization it has undergone over the years, thanks to proselytizing activities of certain groups, has played a direct role in the gruesome lynching of Sadhus wearing the Holy Ochre and their hapless driver. Therefore, we have reasons to doubt the veracity of the incoherent and untenable official statements that deny the existence of a communal angle behind the incident.

You would appreciate, as would have the Late Shri Balasaheb Thackeray, that Dharmics are a global minority, and Bharat, which is our natural homeland, is the only country we have. While the State may have abandoned us, we cannot and will not abandon this land of our ancestors. Therefore, it is our bounden duty to speak up for our rights, especially the rights of our Dharmagurus to be guaranteed a life of safety and dignity, and it is our right to expect the State to deliver on this fundamental expectation which comes with being a State.

Unfortunately, it appears that your administration has all but signalled to the Hindus in the State that their lives don’t matter. After all, if our Dharmagurus are not safe in the Holy land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj under your administration, how can a common Hindu expect to live safely and with a modicum of dignity? Yet, hoping against all hope, we write to you at the request of several well-wishers of our work from the great State of Maharashtra in the hope that you would prove us wrong and prove to the Hindu community of the State that the lives of its members matter.

From the facts that have emerged so far, not only are there glaring inconsistencies in the procedure followed for filing of FIR and making it public as per the Supreme Court guidelines, even the narration of facts therein does not match with the new pieces of evidence that continue to emerge. These facts have led the public, in general, and the Dharmic community, in particular, to believe that the entire episode smells of a conspiracy that was hatched by all the accused with the active support of the local police. Therefore, it is imperative that your Government take such action that gives the Dharmics in the region confidence that they are safe and the conspirators who led the mob on the three poor victims will be nabbed.

To this end, in addition to reaching out to the Hindu community and without obfuscating the facts related to the lynching of the venerable Sadhus, we urge you to take the following steps so as to ensure that not only is justice delivered to the innocent victims of this hate crime but also, the long term damage created by radical and extremist forces is reversed:

1. Request the CBI to take over the investigation into the lynching of the Sadhus and their driver;
2. Immediately suspend, pending enquiry, the concerned Police officials as well as the on-duty officers at the Police Station within whose jurisdiction the site of the crime is located;
3. Criminally prosecute the concerned Police Officials along with the rest of the accused in a fast track Court;
4. Build a memorial in the honour of the victims at the same location where the crime was carried out;
5. Constitute a high-level commission headed by retired Judge of either the Supreme Court or the Bombay High Court to investigate into the root causes of the lynching, namely the radicalization of certain parts of the State owing to rampant conversions and unchecked evangelical work;
6. Pass an anti-conversion law for the State of Maharashtra in its long-term interest;
7. There are also reports in the media that Sadhus belonging to the tradition of the two Sadhus who were killed, wish to visit the region after the lockdown is lifted. It is important that they are granted full police protection during their visit.

Painful as the event may have been, we do believe that it acts as a wake-up call for the state government to take stock of the situation and prevent the atmosphere from deteriorating further. Provided that you lead the way, a crisis of this kind can be turned into a great opportunity to clean up the mess of many decades and pave the way for a great future for the people of Maharashtra as envisioned by the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj himself.

Yours sincerely,
The Indic Collective Trust

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