Only four of fourteen officers identified from 2022 public flogging video

Recent report by CJM Ratnoo indicates that the identification process has been slow due to low-quality videos.

In relation to the disturbing incident of the public flogging of Muslim men in Gujarat’s Kheda district last year in 2023, the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Gujarat High Court has said they could only identify four of the total officers responsible out of the fourteen seen in the video footage circulated. The incident, which shocked the country as video footage circulated depicting the brutal assault, has hit a roadblock due to the fact that only four out of fourteen culprits have been said to be identified.

The Gujarat High Court had earlier stipulated an examination of the video evidence by the Chief Judicial Magistrate. In the video, officers in civilian attire can be seen thrashing the victims in full public view, while an audience watches and even goes so far as to encourage the assault and chant patriotic slogans.

However, the recently submitted report by CJM Chitra Ratnoo has revealed that due to the poor quality of the videos, the identification process has been far from quick. Only four officers could be positively identified from the footage.

According to Bar and Bench, the four police officers identified are: AV Parmar, DB Kumavat,

Kanaksingh Laxmen Singh, and Raju Rameshbhai Dabhi.

The incident had arrived to a division bench of Justices AS Supehia and MR Mengdey, who tasked the CJM of Nadia district with examining theelectronic evidence related to the incident, including pen drives and other relevant materials. Bar and Bench further noted that this particular incident involved members of the Malek family, who claimed that they were subjected to violence by officers from the Matar Police Station for allegedly throwing stones at a crowd during a Navratri event in Undhela village. Seeking recourse, the family approached the High Court, citing contempt of court against the officers for deviating from the Supreme Court’s guidelines as established in DK Basu v. State of West Bengal, which lay out proper procedures for arresting individuals.

Senior Advocate IH Syed represented the Malek family as they took their case to the High Court. Following this, the Court sought a response from the State on the allegations.

The CJM’s report narrates the difficulty in identifying the officers due to the the stated poor quality of the video evidence. The report underlines that the videos were captured by members of the public and often from a distance, leading to blurred and pixelated images when zoomed in which is why identification of culprits based on those videos is difficult. Furthermore, it is stated that the victims themselves struggled to positively identify the officers involved.

Similarly, out of the five men who were subjected to the public assault, the CJM’s report concludes that only three could be definitively identified.



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