Mumbai: The Shiv Sena condemned the lynching of two sadus in Palghar district, Maharashtra, and said the incident was an attempt to malign Maharashtra's image and it was "inhuman" to give it a communal colour.

An editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana' stated that residents of Gadchincle village in Palghar had killed the two sadhus over rumours that thieves dressed as holy men had entered the village taking advantage of the lockdown.

The victims wanted to cross the state borders and travel to Gujarat amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the article stated.

"The local administration sent them back, despite their saffron robes. If they had been held back there itself and the state government had been informed, the matter could have been resolved," the paper observed.

Coming out in support of home minister Anil Deshmukh, the article stated that the police had taken prompt action and said both the victims and accused belonged to the same religion so there was no communal aspect to the case.

Seeds of communal discord were sown through the social media, but Maharashtra has remained peaceful, it said.

"Some expressed concern about how Hindu sadhus could be killed in the state of Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray. But reasons for such concerns are different," the paper said.

Criticising the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis, the paper said, the former chief minister had shed tears over the incident on social media.

“When similar mishaps had taken place in Dhule and Chandrapur during Fadnavis' tenure, wasn't Maharashtra the land of Balasaheb Thackeray then?” the paper asked.

Irrespective of whether victims were Hindus or Muslims, lynching was a perversion and can never be supported, the editorial said.

The paper further pointed out that Gadchincle has been a BJP bastion for the last 10 years and even the village sarpanch belongs to the saffron party.

The opposition was not angry over the killing of sadhus, but was upset as it had failed to create a communal discord following the incident, it stated.

"It is true that Maharashtra's tradition and culture have been hurt by the incident. Was the incident a deliberate attempt to tarnish the state's image?" the editorial questioned.