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Gujarat: Govt, DGP Get Legal Notices Over Cops Publicly Flogging Muslim Community Members

TMC files complaint with NHRC against public flogging of Muslim men who for allegedly pelting stones at a garba event in Undhela village in Kheda district.

Image Courtesy: Twitter

Ahmedabad: A voluntary organisation in Gujarat has sent legal notices to the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police after some police personnel publicly flogged a few members of a minority community accused of stone-pelting during a garba dance event in Kheda district.

The convenor of the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), Mujahid Nafees, issued contempt notices to the officers after some policemen were seen publicly flogging the accused in Undhela village in Kheda on Tuesday.

Through the legal notice dated Thursday, the MCC 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".

Nafees said that if no action is initiated, he will 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.

"Such open and brazen violation is not only against the protected right under Article 21, but against the whole constitutional spirit of a civilized society," it further stated.

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

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 alleged attack on a garba event on Monday night by a group comprising Muslim community members, who objected to holding of the programme near a mosque in Kheda district.

Video clips showed three persons arrested for allegedly throwing stones at the participants at the garba event in Undhela village being brought out of a police van near the event venue. They were then taken towards an electric pole and held against it by a policeman who pulled their hands. 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 policemen asked them to do so. People present in a large number at the site cheered the police action.

The village sarpanch had organised the garba event at a temple. A group of Muslim community allegedly tried to stop the event. The mob hurled stones and at least seven persons, including a Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) jawan and a policeman, were injured, police said.

The first information report (FIR) says that a mob of 150 people, including women, attacked the group performing garba with stones. 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, among others, they said.

TMC files complaint with NHRC

New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in connection with the public flogging of Muslim men by Gujarat Police personnel, party spokesperson Saket Gokhale said on Friday.

He said it is "a matter of shame" that the NHRC hasn't taken suo moto cognizance of the matter.

"It is a matter of shame to see that National Human Rights Commission (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," Gokhale said in a tweet.

He also shared a copy of the complaint.

In the complaint filed by Gokhale on behalf of his party, he said there have been several viral videos on social media showing a group of Muslim men being "tied" to a pole in Undhela village of Matar Taluka in Kheda district, Gujarat.

"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 stated.

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