'Mercilessly Flogged': Civil Society Groups Move Gujarat HC For Justice in Junagadh Police Assault Case

'Mercilessly Flogged': Civil Society Groups Move Gujarat HC For Justice in Junagadh Police Assault Case

The public interest litigation has been filed by Lok Adhikar Sangh and Minority Coordination Committee alleging several instances of custodial violence by the Junagadh Police in the Saurashtra region.

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Monday, June 26, 2023, 10:24 PM IST
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Lacking faith in the Gujarat Home Department, two civil society organisations have moved the Gujarat High Court for justice to 8 to 10 Muslims who were “mercilessly flogged” in full public view by the Junagadh Police, apparently to avenge injuries sustained by cops during a clash between them on June 16.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice AJ Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav briefly heard and admitted the petition on Monday and posted the matter for June 28, after asking the petitioners to provide a copy of their plea to the public prosecutor.

PIL Alleging Custodial Violence

The public interest litigation has been filed by Lok Adhikar Sangh and Minority Coordination Committee alleging several instances of custodial violence by the Junagadh Police in the Saurashtra region.

Incident Background

A clash between the police and the locals broke out on June 16 night after demolition notices by the Junagadh Municipal Corporation to five Islamic structures for allegedly encroaching on public roads. Four policemen were injured in the clashes while a civilian died during the clashes, which also followed vandalism of a state transport bus and a police chowki, and damage to police vehicles. Police had rounded up 180 people and arrested 35 of them.

Following the incident on the same night, the police pushed eight to 10 Muslims detained by them in front of the Geban Shah Masjid at Majewadi Gate in Junagadh town and were “mercilessly flogged in public gaze”. A video of the thrashing of the Muslims, which has gone viral since, shows police hitting them with a cricket bat-like staff from the back as they screamed in pain.

'Merciless Flogging' of Detained Muslims

Narrating the flogging incident, the petition asserted that, “Such police brutality of punishing citizens of India belonging to a minority community without any due process of law and without a competent court holding them guilty, is the worst form of human rights violation by the law and enforcement agency itself”.

The petitioners, advocate Manoj Shrimali for Lok Adhikar Sangh and Mujahid Nafees for Minority Coordination Committee, asserted that parents of not less than six arrested juveniles, who had alleged custodial violence and torture before a magistrate, were forced to withdraw their applications after the cops forced them to.

Past Cases of 'Custodial Violence' Highlighted

The two organisations cited the case of six others also who had similarly given a written complaint at a magisterial court alleging “custodial violence, torture, beatings and failure to provide them with medical treatment though they are seriously injured on account of police brutality”.

After this, the magistrate took cognizance of the complaints and the accused (the arrested Muslims) were taken for medical examination. More startling, the petitioners pointed out that at the hospital the police allegedly prevailed upon the doctors against issuing any injury certificates to them.

The petition also alleged that, “No sooner the accused were taken to the Junagadh jail, the Junagadh police prepared applications and those accused who made complaints of custodial violence and torture were made to sign the application for withdrawal, and accordingly the complaints of custodial violence and torture were made to sign the application for withdrawal and accordingly the complaints of custodial violence and torture…were withdrawn,” the petition stated.

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