MUMBAI: The villagers in Palghar lynched three people on the suspicion that they had come to steal kidneys and sell them in the black market. The Maharashtra police have registered cases against 110 villagers, of whom 101 have been sent to police custody till 30 April and 9 minors have been sent to a juvenile shelter home.
The incident took place in the wee hours of Thursday in Gadchinchale village located along the Dabhadi Khanvel road. For four days, there was a rumour that robbers had come to the village to steal kidneys particularly of children and sell them in the black market. This led to the villagers mounting a round-the-clock vigil.
The deceased have been identified as Sushilgiri Maharaj, Nilesh Telgade and Jayesh Telgade who were travelling from Palghar to Nashik. One of them was a driver while the other two were residents of Mumbai. The cops were also badly beaten by the villagers.
The villagers initially started pelting stones at the car and once the vehicle stopped, the three were pulled out and beaten with sticks and rods.
The driver had alerted the police that their vehicle was being attacked and that villagers were trying to stop them. Police tried to stop the assault but villagers did not listen to them.
Four cops from the Kasa police station and a senior officer from the district were also injured.
This is not the first attack in this area. Two years ago, in Dhule, outsiders were badly beaten and killed after they were suspected to be members of a kidney harvesting racket.
Three days ago, Assistant Police Inspector Anand Kale and three other police officials and a doctor were attacked on the same suspicion that they were kidney robbers.
The police are probing all angles of this incident. “We are checking the social media accounts and WhatsApp of these people to find out what messages were exchanged among them. The rumours were also spread regarding the robbers. We are checking all aspects and action will be taken against the guilty,” a senior police officer said.
Pravin Darekae, MLC and leader of opposition in state assembly council, criticized the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and home minister Anil Deshmukh for his negligence. He said that the home minister should keep a watch on all these incidents. “The home minister is responsible for this incident. He should resign and high-level probe should be conducted in this incident,” Darekar demanded.
Note: The original story on 17th April from PTI has been updated with the New Indian Express story.