Maharashtra: Sadhus assaulted in Sangli on suspicion of child abduction, six arrested

Four sadhus were assaulted by villagers in Umadi Village in Sangli District of Maharashtra after they were mistaken for child lifters

Twitter/@Joydeep4Bharat (screen grab from video)
Twitter/@Joydeep4Bharat (screen grab from video)

Nadeem Inamdar

Four sadhus were assaluted by villagers in Umadi Village in Sangli District of Maharashtra after they were mistaken for child lifters. The sadhus were on their way to Lavanga from Uttar Pradesh to visit the temples as part of their religious pilgrimage. At the beginning the villagers believed that they were thieves who had come to abduct the children and beat them up. The incident came to light after the video of the assault went viral on social media.

Six people have been arrested in this connection. The police have booked them under IPC 324, 323, 143, 147, 148, 149, 504.

In the video, two persons can be seen whipping the sadhus with belts amidst an onlooking crowd. The local police then arrived on the scene, intervened in the matter and calmed the crowds.

Sangli police said that the Sadhus hailed from Mathura and had gone to Bijapur in Karnataka. They reached Lavanga village enroute to Pandharpur when the incident took place. They stayed in the village temples and then had sought help from a village youth about another temple address and route. Some of the villagers who saw their interaction grew suspicious about it and started an argument. Some of them physically assaulted them with wooden sticks and the altercation ended with the victims convincing the villagers that they were on a bonafide visit to temples. Later the sadhus refused to lodge a complaint against those who assaulted them.

The Shiv Sena called the incident "unfortunate" and sought to know how many BJP leaders will visit Sangli. "While the government claims to be pro-Hindu and that it protects Hindus, sadhus are being assaulted in Sangli. It was easy to level allegations when we were in power - that our government was anti-Hindu. The government must take cognizance and take stern action against the accused," the party spokesperson Anand Dube said.

BJP MLA Ram Kadam in a video message stated, “The state government will not tolerate such misbehavior with the sadhus. And strict action will be taken against the accused."

Sangli SP said, “We have not received any formal complaint but an investigation has been ordered based on the videos which went viral on social media. Necessary action will be taken in this regard,” he added.

Sangli SP Gedam Dikshit said, “The incident took place due to misunderstanding and six persons have been arrested for assault. We are also searching for some other persons in connection with the assault on Sadhus in Lavanga village Yesterday. The sadhus had not given any complaint wherein suo moto cognisance was taken and FIR has been lodged. Six persons have been detained while around fourteen persons are involved in the crime. The youth mistook them as child lifters and he had seen some objectionable videos related to child lifters. ” 

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