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No communal angle to Palghar, strict action against those fuelling hate: Uddhav Thackeray




Uddhav Thackeray addresses media
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray | PTI

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took to social media Monday to clarify that the Palghar mob lynching incident, where two sadhus and their driver was beaten to death, was not a communal incident and was a case of mistaken identity.

He also warned that strict action will be taken against those spreading fake news and igniting communal hatred on social media.

In his address to the state, Thackeray said, “The two sadhus were going to Gujarat and since there were curbs on the main road, they took the road through a remote area. They were stopped at the Dadra Nagar Haveli border and were asked tor return. On their way back, they were attacked due to a misunderstanding and unfortunately killed.”

“The police are taking all the steps and we will not spare anyone involved in the violence”, he said.

He also added that more than 100 people had been arrested in connection with the violence and would be in police custody till 30 April. While five of the main accused were also in police custody.

Noting that the investigation is still ongoing, Thackeray requested people not to make false claims about the Palghar violence and said that he had even spoken to Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath regarding the issue.

“Amitji knows there is no communal angle to the incident,” he said in his webcast.

The Shiv Sena leader also tweeted Sunday, “The Palghar incident has been acted upon. The police has arrested all those accused who attacked the 2 sadhus, 1 driver and the police personnel, on the day of the crime itself. Nobody guilty in this heinous crime and shameful act will be spared and they will be brought to justice in the strongest way possible.”

Also read: Amit Shah speaks to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray about Palghar lynching

Palghar lynching

On 16 April, two sadhus, 70-year-old Mahant Kalpavruksha Giri and 35-year-old Sushilgiri Maharaj, along with their driver Nilesh Yelgade were on their way from Kandivali to attend a funeral in Surat, Gujarat. As they neared Gadchinchle village about 150 km from Mumbai, on the Dadra and Nagar Haveli border, they were stopped by guards of the forest department and asked to go back.

A mob soon gathered and accused them of being thieves and began attacking them. By the time a team of four policemen reached the spot, the mob had overturned the car the occupants were sitting in. Another team of 16 police personnel arrived and managed to get the three men into two police cars, but the mob dragged them out of the police vehicles and lynched them to death.

Since the incident, the Home Ministry has sought a report from Maharashtra government on the incident, while BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded a high level probe into the incident.

Also read: Palghar lynching: BJP’s Deodhar blames communists, Ashoke Pandit sees communal angle & more


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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