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Gujarat: 7 Hurt After Fight Over Location of Garba Event; Cops Thrash Suspects In Full Public View

Those witnessing the beating at the village square are seen cheering the police action in a video.
Screengrab from a video showing the public flogging of the Muslim accused in Gujarat's Undhela village.
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New Delhi: Gujarat police on Tuesday beat up in full public view some of the accused of a case where seven persons were injured after an argument over the location of a garba event in Gujarat’s Undhela village spiralled into violence with Muslim residents objecting to holding the programme near a mosque.

The initial incident over the location of the garba event took place late on Monday, October 3. A day later, videos emerged showing police beating the suspected attackers arrested in the case by holding them against an electric pole in the village square in full public view.

Video clips appear to show three arrested persons being brought out of a police van near the event’s venue. They appear to be then taken towards an electric pole and held against it by a policeman who pulled them by their hands. Another policeman is seen hitting them below the waist with a baton.

The videos also appear to show the accused apologising to a large group of people gathered at the spot with folded hands after policemen ask them to do so.

Those witnessing the beating at the site cheered the police action.

Local news outlet VTV Gujarati News shared the video with a caption that NDTV reported as having read: “10-11 heretics were brought to the village, where the police taught them a lesson in public.”

Garba skirmish

Police have arrested 13 persons so far after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered at the Matar police station, said deputy superintendent of police V.R. Bajpai.

“The village Sarpanch (head) had organised Garba (a popular Gujarati folk dance) at a temple. A mob from the Muslim community tried to stop it from taking place,” Bajpai was quoted as having said by PTI.

However, the FIR itself, according to NDTV, notes that members from the Muslim community in the village had objected to the garba being organised near a mosque, which is located across the temple.

A group of people gathered at the venue at around 11:30 pm and started hurling abuses at the revellers and asked them to pack up, the FIR says. More people joined them and the mob started pelting stones when the revellers continued to play Garba, said the FIR. Some of them were armed with sharp weapons, and sticks and they pelted stones at the temple, said the FIR.

The mob allegedly pelted stones and at least seven persons, including a Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) jawan and a policeman, were injured, he said.

“The FIR says a mob of 150 people, including women, attacked the group performing Garba by pelting stones. As per the FIR, 43 of the accused have been identified by name,” the official said.

The arrested accused were booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and voluntarily causing hurt, among others.

(With PTI inputs)

Note: This article, originally published as a PTI copy at 6:05 pm on October 4, 2022, is being republished at 8.30 am the following day, October 5, 2022, with updates.

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