The BJP MP and Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of Nirmal Panchayati Akhara, Sakshi Maharaj speaks to The Daily Guardian and warns the Maharashtra government of consequences if justice is delayed in the Palghar incident.
Q. What’s your first response to the horrific case of mob lynching of 2 sadhus, a driver and a policeman in Palghar?
A. My first response is that I am deeply anguished and sad. Two tall sadhus were brutally killed, a driver and a policeman were beaten to death. The video that surfaced clearly shows that police was just witnessing the incidents as if they were blindfolded. Some videos are showing that the police handed over the sadhus to the mob; even the police did not try to save them. That’s why I have urged Union Home Minister, Maharashtra CM and Maharashtra Governor that not only should the FIR be lodged against the killers but also against these police personnel. Now, they are making the excuse that police personnel were also injured but when the police were not even acting, how could they get injured? Definitely, fake injuries would have been created to save themselves. These were not ordinary sadhus, India’s biggest akhara today is Juna akhara. Like in politics, nobody can hurt Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath, in the same manner nobody can hurt the Juna Akhara. I am myself the acharya of Nirmal Panchayati Akhara. So they were the sadhus of Juna Akhara and we all, the members of different akharas which included our national president, have decided that if these killers will not be hanged to death, then we are stating that the Maharashtra Government will be under huge pressure as all the sadhus of Juna Akhara, the Nagas, will march to Maharashtra as soon as the novel coronavirus outbreak ends. The way they have killed the sadhus is like they have killed humanity and whatever the Maharashtra Government has done so far is not sufficient.
Q. Are you satisfied with Maharashtra govt ordering high-level probe?
A. No, I am not satisfied. What I am asking is whether there was any pressure on police from politicians? Why have police not taken any action? The way these people have killed 2 sadhus, a driver and the police personnel, they have no right to live, and, on the other side, you are treating them like guests and no action has been taken by anyone. Such kind of behaviour by the police is unacceptable.
Q. Sadhus have demanded strong action against the culprits. What are your demands being an MP?
A. There are no words in the dictionary in which I can condemn this incident but we need to understand, they have killed sadhus. Whether justice will be delayed or not given, the Maharashtra Government will then face the consequences.
Q. Have you had a word with Maharashtra CM or any state minister over this?
A. I have tweeted about the incident. I have also written to Union Home Minster Amit Shah, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and as a representative of Sadhu Samaj in Parliament, I have asked to take strict actions against the killers. If Maharashtra Government does not act, then the Union Government should interfere to get Sadhu Samaj justice.
Q. When the country is fighting the huge crisis posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak and such an incident has happened during the lockdown, what actions do you demand and what should be done, according to you, so that nothing like this happens again?
A. This is a complete failure on the part of the Maharashtra Government and they have to answer this. During lockdown, how can 200-250 people gather at one spot with lathis and dandas in their hands? What was the police doing? Where is the lockdown? And we all know, Maharashtra is the worst-affected state because of coronavirus. How can people gather at this time and kill 2 sadhus and a driver and then a video surfaces and people start tweeting about it and then government responds? This is a complete failure on the part of the Maharashtra Government.