Video of Gujarat cops flogging men arrested for ‘rioting’ surfaces, inquiry ordered

After first arresting only Muslims on Tuesday, October 4, members of the Gujarat police are reportedly caught on video taking law into their own hands and flogging Muslim youth

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A day after 10 persons, who happened to be Muslim were arrested following a case of ‘rioting’ during a garba (dance) event at Undhela village of Matar taluk in Gujarat’s Kheda district, the Gujarat police has ordered an inquiry into video clips purportedly showing policemen flogging at least five persons, who were arrested in a rioting case, in full public view. This was reported by the Deccan Herald today. The minister of state for Home, Harsh Sanghvi has kept completely silent on the reportedly unlawful action of the Gujarat police.

The videos show villagers cheering for the policemen as they thrashed the men one by one. Widely circulated on social media platforms, the videos have attracted criticism from all quarters. “We have ordered an inquiry after taking cognisance of the videos,” Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia reportedly told the DH. This partisan and unlawful behaviour of the Gujarat police comes fast on the heels of their inaction against extra-constitutional outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal (BD) forcibly ‘preventive’ participation of all communities, especially Muslims, in the celebrations over the past 10 days.

The shocking incident of the police reportedly taking law into their own hands took place on Tuesday, October 4,  in Undhela village of Matar taluk, in central Gujarat’s Kheda district, a day after local police arrested 10 persons from the Muslim community following a case of rioting during garba event in the village.

Rajesh Gadhia, Kheda District Superintendent of Police, while saying that he was looking into the video, explained that it started with village sarpanch Indravadan Patel, as part of his “mannat” (pledge) organising garba on the occasion of Ashtami (8th day of Navratri) at the village temple, which shared its wall with a mosque.

“Normally, the garba is organised at a different place in the village, but for one day it was being held at the temple as pledged by the sarpanch. There were over 250 people, mostly women. However, some people from the other community objected as it was adjacent to the mosque. Initially, it was just a heated argument, but it turned into a brawl. Stones were thrown and many, including five-six women, were injured. A police team was also attacked,” Gadhia told DH.

Gandhia added that the FIR named 43 persons and a mob of hundreds of people. In their initial action taken by Tuesday morning, the police arrested 10 persons, all from Muslim community, and brought them back to the village where they were publicly beaten up. The shocking video shows two men in plain clothes holding the arrested men, one by one, by their arms, tied to an electric pole, and another man, in plain clothes, beating them from behind. The videos, shared widely, also showed a group of men, women and children watching, clapping and shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.

Commenting on the incident, minister of state for home, Harsh Sanghvi said: “This was an attempt to disturb a religious festival by a certain kind of people. Some anti-social elements tried to break the peace. I want to say that in Gujarat anyone who abides by the law will not be troubled (Kayda ma rahshe to fayda ma rashe).” Conspiciously the minister who takes an oath under the Indian Constitution made no mention, leave aside criticise the blatantly illegal and unlawful action of the Gujarat police.

One of the MLAs from Congress party objected to the police action and tweeted: “The accused were tried to a pole and were flogged by police in public while villagers clapped. Only the courts have the right to punish (the) accused, not the police. They shouldn’t have taken the law into their own hands.”


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