Stone Pelting At Garba Venue: Local Admin Failed To Act On Sarpanch’s Letter

Stone pelting at the Garba venue and the subsequent public flogging of the alleged stone pelters in Gujarat’s Kheda district have not only triggered an outrage but also raised questions over a serious lapse on the part of the local administration.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 06 October, 2022 5:04 pm IST

Stone pelting at the Garba venue and the subsequent public flogging of the alleged stone pelters in Gujarat’s Kheda district have not only triggered an outrage but also raised questions over a serious lapse on the part of the local administration.

The Garba was organised by the sarpanch of the Undhela village in Kheda at a chowk facing the Tujla Bhawani temple. Incidentally, the temple shares a wall with a madrassa.

Four days before the event, on October 3, the sarpanch, Indravadan Patel, had written a letter to the administration seeking police protection for the event.

Sarpanch’s letter to the administration seeking police protection for the event

 

“Since a lot of people are expected to come, adequate security personnel should be deployed between 10 pm to 12 midnight on Monday (October 3),” Patel, in his letter to the district corporation, stated.

However, only five police personnel were deployed at the event site. They found themselves overwhelmed when the mob allegedly objected to the garbage. Two of the policemen, among 13 persons, were also injured due to the stone pelting.

Speaking to The New Indian, Patel said, “We were expecting proper security personnel, but only four to five personnel were present. And when the stone pelting started, they failed to control the mob.”

Patel also said that had adequate security been deployed, the pelting could have been averted. He also said when the police did the flogging of arrested persons, he was in the hospital to see the injured persons.

Rajesh Gadhia, Superintendent of Police, Kheda, told The New Indian that they will check why less number of personnel were deployed.

“During the Dussehra festival, we distribute the local police staff at various chowks. What led to the incident and why fewer personnel were assigned despite the organisers’ seeking protection will be checked,” Ghadia said.

Gadhia, however, declined to comment on the video of the flogging of the alleged stone pelters by the cops.

 

 

 

 

FIR copy of the case

 

 

Abdul Karim Malek, president of Madhya Gujarat Muslim Samaj Seva Samiti, told The New Indian, why police failed to maintain the law-and-order situation on that night should be investigated. “This is a sensitive area and the police are aware of this. Had they acted accordingly, the stone pelting incident could have been prevented,” Malek said.

Attacking the police for flogging the alleged accused, Malek said, “There are two ministers – one in the centre and another in the state belonging to this district. The police might have tried to make them happy. That’s why police indulged in the public flogging of the arrested persons,” Malek said.

More than 43 accused were named in the First Information Report (FIR), while 10 persons were arrested till Thursday morning, in connection with the stone pelting.

The accused have been booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon likely to cause death) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting religion or religious beliefs) of the IPC.

All the accused, who were arrested for pelting stones, belong to the Muslim community. A video showed that they were allegedly beaten up tied to a pillar. The residents can be seen hailing the police for the act.

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