Rajat Sharma

Lynching of sadhus must be condemned, arrest those who spread rumours

AKB2610In a despicable incident, a mob lynched three persons, including two sadhus of Junagarh Akhada, on April 16 inside a forest near Garhchincholi village in Palghar, Maharashtra. The sadhus were going to Surat in a car after obtaining permission from local authorities. Police was present at the spot, but when the lynching began, the policemen escaped fearing their lives.

Video of the lynching had been circulating in social media for the last three days and there have been demands for action against culprits who lynched the sadhus. Initially, police tried its best to hush up the case saying the lynching took place because of rumours that child lifters in the garb of sadhus were active in the locality.

I have seen the unedited video in which the sadhus were first dragged out of the car, beaten with sticks and rocks were thrown on their heads killing them instantly. This gory video cannot be shown on television to viewers.

The incident has been condemned by religious organisations and several political leaders. I agree with yoga guru Swami Ramdev that lynching sadhus has never been a part of Indian culture. It must be condemned.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has promised action against the culprits. Already 110 people have been arrested for taking part in the lynching incident, but the police must find out those who spread baseless rumours on WhatsApp about child lifters and robbers moving in the garb of sadhus. These people should also be arrested and stringent action must be taken against them.

There are two more questions relating to the incident. Why was the state police silent for three days and took action only after the videos became viral on social media? If there was a lockdown in force, how nearly 300 people collected in a mob to lynch the sadhus?

There is one more serious concern which I want to share with you. More than 50 reporters, camerapersons and support staff of news channels in Mumbai have been tested positive with Coronavirus and they will be undergoing treatment. I consider these courageous reporters and camerapersons as part of my family. At the daily Health Ministry briefing, it was disclosed that their number was 30, but a report from Mumbai puts the number at 53.

These mediapersons work courageously on the frontline in the war against Coronavirus. They visit hospitals, morgues, hotspots and containment zones in their zeal to communicate news about Coronavirus to all of you who watch news channels.

I would appeal to all reporters, cameramen and support staff to be careful about health risks while reporting from the ground. To those who are now is isolation wards undergoing treatment, I want to advise them to bear the situation with courage. I assure all of them that I am available for any help if they require regardless of whichever channel or media house they work for. Let us unwaveringly continue our fight against Coronavirus.

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