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Furore over cop ‘flogging’ in Gujarat

Purported video clips of the incident showed three men arrested for stone pelting being brought out of a police van and held against an electricity pole by a policeman
Representational Image
Representational Image
File Photo

PTI   |   Ahmedabad   |   Published 08.10.22, 01:57 AM

A voluntary organisation in Gujarat has sent legal notices to the state chief secretary and director-general of police after police personnel were seen publicly flogging Muslims accused of throwing stones during a garba event in Kheda district.

Purported video clips of the incident showed three men arrested for stone pelting being brought out of a police van and held against an electricity pole by a policeman. Another policeman is seen hitting them below the waist with a baton.


The images showed the alleged attackers apologising to the public gathered at the spot with folded hands after the policemen asked them to do so. People present in a large number at the site cheered the police action.

Gujarat DGP Ashish Bhatia has ordered a probe into the incident. Kapadvanj deputy superintendent of police V.N. Solanki has been asked to conduct the inquiry and submit a report, sources in the state home department said on Friday.

The Trinamul Congress has also filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). “It is a matter of shame to see that the NHRC hasn’t suo moto taken up the matter of Gujarat police publicly flogging Muslim youth. But they shouldn’t have the excuse of ‘no one complained’. We All India Trinamool Congress filed a complaint with the NHRC today,” party spokesperson Gokhale tweeted on Friday.

In Gujarat, through the legal notice dated Thursday, the Minority Coordination Committee has urged the state government to take “appropriate and suitable departmental, disciplinary, punitive and criminal action against the erring police officials forthwith who have openly violated all rights of the victims by way of public flogging”.

Mujahid Nafees, the convenor of the minority committee, said that if no action was initiated, he would be constrained to initiate suitable legal action against the erring police officials and the respondents.

“Those who were flogged belong to the minority Muslim community. Despite the atrocity at the behest of the police personnel having been widely reported, no action has been taken/initiated till date in complete violation of all rights of those flogged,” stated the legal notice, sent through lawyer Anand Yagnik before the probe order was disclosed.

“Such open and brazen violation is not only against the protected right under Article 21, but against the whole constitutional spirit of a civilised society,” it added.

The alleged stone-pelting does not justify the public flogging by the police personnel to quell the “hurt sentiments” of the majority population of the village, the notice said.

The police personnel who are responsible for flogging are bound by the Code of Criminal Procedure and have no right to physically hit or intimidate anyone, the notice added. 

There is no section in any police manual or Indian Penal Code that allows police to indiscriminately assault citizens, it said.

Seven persons, including a policeman, were injured in an attack on a garba event on Monday night by a group of Muslims who objected to the programme being held near a mosque in Kheda district.

The village sarpanch had organised the garba event at a temple. The first information report said that a mob of 150 people, including women, attacked with stones the group performing the garba. Forty-three accused were identified.

The arrested accused were booked under IPC sections related to attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and voluntarily causing hurt.

Gokhale, the Trinamul spokesperson, said in his complaint to the NHRC that “the police claimed that this was ‘punishment’ to the Muslim men who were accused of stone pelting. The police basically decided to act as jury and executioner and unleashed inhuman brutality on a group of young men purely because they were Muslim.”

“This is a clear case of police brutality and atrocities against religious minorities ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections and may also be politically motivated,” the complaint added.

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