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Flogging of Muslim men: Four Gujarat cops tender unconditional 'apologies' from 'bottom of their hearts'

FourGujaratpolicemenfacing charges of contempt of court for publiclyflogginga group ofMuslimmenunder custody have tenderedunconditionalapology from the “bottom of their hearts”, while requesting the court to be spared from any punishment.

One of the accusedpolicemenhas said in his defense that he had “neurologicalproblems.”

A division bench of Gujarat High Court has framed charges againstfourpolicemenfor violating Supreme Court’s guidelines in D K Basu vsState of Bengal. These guidelines are forpolicemento follow during arrest and subsequenttreatment under custody. These guidelines are in addition to constitutional safeguards.

Six personsfiled a contempt of court petition against over a dozenpolicemenafter they were allegedly tied to electric poles and were flogged with sticks at Undhela village in Matar taluka of Kheda district on October 4, 2022.

Police arrested them with many others for stone pelting, rioting, among various charges a night before following a clash during Navratri festivity. The copsbrought them back to the village and beat them in front of the villagers. The act was filmed and circulated widely.

The division bench ordered Kheda magisterial court to inquire into the incident after accusedpolicemen’s lawyers sought authenticities of the video footage of the incident. The magistrate report foundfourpolicemenA V Parmar, D B Kumavat, Kanaksinh Laxmansinh and Raju Ramesh Dabhi involved in the incident.

In their previous affidavits, Parmar while seeking apologies wrote, “givingthree to six stick blows onbuttocks” wouldn’t constitutecustodial torture as to punish them for for contempt of court.

On Monday, in an additional written submission, thepolicemenhave”tenderedunconditionalapology from the bottom of their heart” and prayed to be discharged from the case.

Parmar has informed the court that he had a brain tumor which was operated after major surgery. He said that although he has recovered he has been advised to undergo another surgery.

The submission says that “Parmar had health problems and neurological problems even at the time of the incident (flogging). The other threepolicemenhave mentioned their “unblemished” service records and that they were the scene to “control the situation.”

Previously, these cops stated in their affidavits thatthey were doing it to control the law and order situation in an “efficient and effective manner”.

A preliminary report prepared by police also found thatsix of thepolicemen”prima facie involved in the incident of physical abuse.” Initially, there were over a dozenpolicemenwho were accused in the case.

(Published 16 October 2023, 19:26 IST)

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