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Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > India: Kheda public flogging: Gujarat HC issues notice to police, Muslim (...)

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

Tuesday 25 October 2022, by siawi3


Communalism Rule of Law

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


21 Oct 2022

Image: Kheda

The outrageous and unlawful public flogging selectively of Muslims of Undhela village of Kheda district received some attention from the Gujarat High Court (HC) on Thursday, Oct 20 when a division bench of the Gujarat High Court issued notice to state authorities including 13 police personnel who were allegedly involved. The public flogging of Muslim men in Undhela village of Kheda district took place following a stone-pelting incident during Navratri earlier this month. No suo motu action had thus far been taken and an in house IG level inquiry had been ordered by the state police only after widespread public outrage when a video of the flogging was widely circulated allegedly by some sympathisers. Political parties, including the opposition Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party that is making a bid for power in the upcoming state elections, have been conspicuously silent over the issue.

The Indian Express today reported that while making submissions before the bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice A J Shastri, Senior Advocate I H Syed, representing the petitioners, said, “The policemen themselves made the videos and put them on social media. In a police van, they (the flogging victims) were brought from the police station, each person was taken out, beaten and was then put in the police vehicle… in full public view, this is what happened. This is a complete violation (of Supreme Court guidelines for police while making detentions and arrests).”

The HC bench thereafter issued notice to 15 respondents, and has posted the matter for hearing on December 12.

The petitioners — Jahirmiya Malek (62), Maksudabanu Malek (45), Sahadmiya Malek (23), Sakilmiya Malek (24) and Shahidraja Malek (25) — said the men were publicly flogged by police on October 4.

They have petitioned the High Court against 15 police personnel — the offices of IG (Ahmedabad range) and Kheda SP, 10 Constables of Matar police station and the local crime branch (LCB) at Kheda, an Inspector of the LCB, and two Sub Inspectors.

The petitioners have clearly sought that the police personnel be “punished for contempt and non-compliance” of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the case of D K Basu versus the State of West Bengal – it provides for guidelines to be followed by police during arrest and detention. They have also prayed for adequate compensation for the victims who were flogged.

The police personnel named in the petition are: A V Parmar, Inspector, LCB; D B Kumavat, Sub Inspector, LCB; H M Rabari, Sub Inspector, Matar police station; Kanaksinh Laxmansinh Dabhi, Head Constable, LCB; Mahesh Rabari, Head Constable, LCB; Jayesh Rabari, Head Constable, LCB; Ruturajsinh Gopalsinh Parmar, Head Constable, LCB; Ashwin, Head Constable, LCB; Vanrajsinh Bhagubhai, Head Constable, LCB; Arjunsinh, Head Constable, LCB; Vishnu Harjibhai Rabari, Constable, Matar police station; Rajubhai Rameshbhai Dabhi, Constable, LCB; Mahipatsinh Bhagwatsinh Chauhan, Constable, Matar police station; and the offices of SP Kheda and the IG (Ahmedabad range) whose jurisdiction includes Kheda district.

The petitioners have further prayed that the court direct the SP Kheda “to immediately seize the original DVRs, cameras of the SOG office, toll plaza and all such CCTV cameras along the route”.

In the petition, the petitioners have contended that at around 11 pm on October 3, an altercation, arising out of garba festivities, took place in Undhela village in Matar taluka of Kheda district after the arrival of the Matar MLA, Kesarisinh Solanki, and his entourage. Thereafter, 11 police personnel, who have been named as respondents in the petition, reached the site and detained “innocent persons including the petitioners”.

Further, according to the petitioners, at around 2 am, the police personnel also entered the house of a woman named Maksudabanu (one of the petitioners) without ensuring the presence of a woman constable. Maksudabanu, the petition alleged, was beaten by one of the policemen, leaving her injured.

The petitioners have stared they were taken to the SOG police station in Kheda and kept under detention for the night.

Shocking details of the Public Flogging

It is the case of the petitioners, that they, themselves, the petitioners and five others were brought to the Masjid chowk in Undhela around noon on October 4, tied to a pole in the middle of the chowk and beaten with a lathi by 13 police personnel before a crowd. Videos were recorded and circulated in the public domain.

Shockingly, the petitioners have alleged that their request to be taken to a hospital after the beating was “outrightly rejected” by the police personnel involved in the flogging.

Thereafter, say the petitioners, they were taken to Matar police station and were formally shown as arrested at 9.15 pm on October 4. They said they were presented before a magistrate at 2 pm on October 5.

The petitioners have also submitted that at the time of being produced before the magistrate’s court, “the MLA of Matar constituency had arrived at the court with 200 other persons who then indulged in sloganeering during the production of the petitioners”.

Even before moving the High Court, the petitioners, in a representation to the Kheda SP and IG (Ahmedabad range), detailed the “high handed, illegal, inhuman, vexatious and contemptuous acts” of the 13 police personnel.

The Order of the High Court may be read here


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