Around 10 accused, who allegedly pelted stones at a garba event in Gujarat’s Kheda district, were publicly flogged by the police in front of the public on Tuesday. Several videos showed the accused men being caned as the public hailed the police action.
On Monday night, an incident of stone pelting was reported at a garba function during Navratri celebrations in Undhela village in Kheda. At least seven persons, including a Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) jawan and a policeman, were injured, the police said.
The garba event was organised at a temple which shares a boundary wall with a mosque. A group belonging to the Muslim community reached the spot and asked them to stop. When the event was not stopped, some people from the mob started pelting stones and verbally abusing the participants.
Nadiad DSP VR Bajpayee said, “A mob belonging to the Muslim community tried to halt the garba celebration at the temple… It was followed by stone pelting and rioting. One GRD jawan and a police personnel were also injured in the riot. A total of 43 persons have been identified and booked along with an unidentified mob of about 150 persons, which includes women.”
Indravadan Patel, sarpanch of Undhela village in Matar taluka, said, “The police arrested 10 of the 43 accused (for the clashes at the garba), brought them to the spot where the garba was held and punished them.” The police called the 10 accused one after another and flogged them in full public view. The villagers hailed the police action by raising “Gujarat Police Zindabad” slogans.
Referring to the video clips, Congress MLAs Imran Khedawala and Gyasuddin Sheikh said the men seen flogging the accused in the videos were police officials in plainclothes and demanded that they be “immediately suspended”.
Taking to Twitter, Khedawala and Sheikh posted similar messages: “The police pinned the accused to the electricity pole and thrashed them with sticks while the public applauded… The officials who took the law in their hands should be immediately suspended.”
IGP (Ahmedabad Range), V Chandrashekhar, said: “We are yet to ascertain the genuineness of the video.” Kheda district SP Rajesh Gadhia said he “would look into the alleged video”.
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