A day after four sadhus were allegedly thrashed by a mob in Maharashtra’s Sangli district on the suspicion of being child-lifters, police took suo-moto cognisance of it and registered a case against 18 to 20 people, an official said on Wednesday.
The police have detained six persons in connection with the incident which took place near Lawanga village in Jath tehsil of Sangli on Tuesday, he said. The sadhus (religious ascetics) did not file a complaint and left the place after the confusion was cleared in the presence of police that they were members of an ‘akhada’ in Uttar Pradesh, the official said.
A video showing some people beating the sadhus with sticks went viral on social media platforms. “The sadhus did not file any complaint. But we took suo moto cognisance and registered a case against 18 to 20 people, out of whom six persons have been identified and detained," assistant police inspector Pankaj Pawar from Umadi police station said. He said the four sadhus were on way to Pandharpur in neighbouring Solapur district in a vehicle.
“As they lost the path, they approached a boy at a powerhouse station near Lawanga village. The boy, who did not know any language other than Kannada, got scared after looking at their appearance and started shouting ‘thief-thief’," the official said.
This led some locals to suspect that they were part of criminal gangs which abduct children. “People from the village gathered there and caught hold of the sadhus. There was an argument. It escalated quickly and the sadhus were allegedly beaten up with sticks by locals," he said. The official said a police team reached the spot and found the sadhus were indeed members of an ‘akhada’ in Uttar Pradesh and the incident took place due to a misunderstanding.
“The sadhus did not pursue the matter and left the place. The police, on the basis of videos of the incident, registered a case under relevant sections," he added.