Gujarat: HC questions state on public flogging of Muslim men in Kheda

Gujarat HC asks Public Prosecutor to provide the specific law that allows flogging in public view and circulation of video of people in custody

On July 3, whilst dealing with a contempt plea concerning the act of flogging committed by police officials on a group of Muslim men in Kheda, the Gujarat High Court came down upon the state government heavily, asked them to provide an answer to whether any law permits that ‘an accused can be tied up to a pole and beaten up in full public view?’

The Bench of Justice AS Supehia and Justice MR Mengdey made this observation while dealing with a plea moved by 5 members of a Muslim family seeking contempt action against more than a dozen police officers for allegedly tying and beating the Muslim men up in full public view, with the villagers cheering on and recording the incident, and circulating it in social media.

The Police action occurred allegedly in the aftermath of the communal clash in Undhela village situated in Matar Taluka of Kheda district on October 3, 2022. Allegedly, some intruders pelted stones at the crowd during Navratri celebrations; thereafter, at least 40 persons were arrested by the police, some of whom were publicly flogged.

During the said hearing on Monday, when the Public Prosecutor Mitesh Amin, representing the state, attempted to highlight how the accused were engaged in ‘stone-throwing’, the bench specifically questioned him as to whether the state was conceding that the claimed flogging episode actually occurred or not.

Whether the incident of tying them to the cot and thereafter, beating them with lathis, has occurred or not?…We are not going to decide this case on the basis of passion. Either you deny it (flogging incident) that it did not occur at all, or you can say that yes, this was our duty and these all are the reasons, and if you would not have done so, something worse could have happened,” the Bench asked, as provided by the LiveLaw.

The PP Mitesh Amin responded to the said question by saying that although he had previously stated that his goal was not to justify any particular act, if at all one had even occurred, he still wished to present the court with a number of records.

He added, however, that Muslim community members had ‘planned to stop’ Hindu community members from performing Garba during the Navratri holiday in the aforementioned area prior to the claimed incident. He also alleged that Muslim residents had already ‘interfered’ with the Holi festivities.

Additionally, he said that Muslim men had tried to ‘disrupt’ the festivities and that the police were called in to intervene and control the situation.

I am trying to make an endeavour to explain that such was the situation where the police officers were bound to see that situation do not flare up disturbing law and order situation. At that time, they would not sit with DK Basu (case guidelines). They just wanted to control the situation,” PP Amin Submitted, as provided by the LiveLaw.

Upon the aforementioned submission made by the PP, Justice Supehia then stated, “Definitely, they must control the situation. But we are concerned with what happened subsequently. The issue before us relates to the guidelines. We are not doubting the manner and method you tried to handle the situation. The question concerns after they were taken into custody and the subsequent incident took place…Point out the provision of law whereunder a person who is detained or an accused, can be tied to a pole and beaten in full public view. Point out that it can be done,” as reported by the Livelaw.

The bench further asked the state to deny the incident, however, since the PP was reluctant to do so, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 6.



Where 4 Muslims were publicly flogged by cops, 39 others live in ‘exile’: Gujarat, Kheda

Kheda public flogging: Gujarat HC issues notice to police, Muslim victims seek action

Kheda police flogging: Victim-Accused files private complaint, court directs police to conduct probe

Kheda flogging incident: Assailant identified as cop, colleagues helped him beat four men

In Affidavit to High Court, Kheda SP defends policemen who publicly flogged Muslims: Gujarat



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