MUMBAI: The ruling Congress in Maharashtra on Monday alleged that majority of the people arrested for the last week's mob lynching incident in Palghar district were members of the BJP.
State Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant also accused the BJP of playing "communal politics" to derive a political mileage from the incident in which three people, including two seers, were killed by a mob apparently on suspicion of being thieves or child-lifters.
The saffron party has refuted the charge and reiterated its demand to probe the role of the police in the incident.
"The village Divashi Gadchinchale is known as BJP bastion for last ten years including the post of village head. The current head is also from BJP. Most of the people arrested in the lynching incident are from BJP (sic)," Sawant tweeted.
He also mentioned certain rumours of communal nature, saying a thorough probe is necessary into their circulation and connection to the lynching incident, if any.
"Who is behind such rumours that is turning people violent. It should be investigated. The BJP should be ashamed of its dirty politics of communalising the issue.
"The party that failed to stop similar incidents in last five years is now politicising the issue is a serious thing (sic)," he said in another tweet.
In the wake of the incident, several BJP leaders slammed the Shiv Sena-led coalition government--also comprising the Congress and the NCP--for the "administrative" failure to protect the Hindu seers.
However, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pravin Darekar refuted the charges raised by Sawant.
"Going by the people and their political affiliations, a zilla parishad member of Congress is also seen in the video footage available of the attack on the seers and their driver.
"So, should we say that the party (Congress) is behind the attack? We are talking about the failure of the police and home department, and not communalising it," he stated.
The incident took place on the night of April 16 when three men from Kandivali in Mumbai were going in a car towards Surat in Gujarat to attend a funeral.
Their vehicle was stopped near a village in Palghar district.
The three were dragged out of their car and beaten to death with sticks by a mob on suspicion that they were thieves.
The deceased were identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and their car driver Nilesh Telgade (30).
Earlier on Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take action against those giving communal colour to the lynching incident.
The state government has already ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.
State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had warned against giving any communal colour to the incident, as two of the three deceased were believed to be seers.
Palghar Police had arrested 101 people in connection with the lynching incident.
Two policemen were suspended on Monday for alleged dereliction of duty.