Updated: February 1, 2022 3:16:31 am
Protest demonstrations over the death of 30-year-old Kishan Boliya alias Kishan Bharwad, who was allegedly shot dead in Dhandhuka of Ahmedabad recently for an objectionable social media post, took a violent turn in Rajkot and Chhota Udepur districts in Gujarat on Monday.
Police in several districts, including Ahmedabad, issued advisory appealing for peace and asked citizens to not pay heed to unsubstantiated rumours creating a rift between communities. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also issued a statement appealing for peace even as the opposition Congress attacked the state government over its “failure” to provide security to the deceased.
Kishan Boliya, a resident of Dhandhuka in Ahmedabad district, was shot dead by two bike-borne men on January 25 while he was travelling on a motorcycle. According to police, Boliya had posted an objectionable video on Facebook. Five persons, including two clerics, have been arrested so far in the case.
Demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators, several right-wing groups held demonstrations in Rajkot, Morbi, Banaskantha, Surendranagar, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Patan, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur. Clashes were reported in Rajkot and Chhota Udepur.
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In Rajkot, a huge mob assembled outside the district collector’s office on Shroff Road to submit a memorandum. The mob of around 3,000 then started marching towards the city police headquarters in Panchayat Chowk. They blocked the road near Dharam Cinema and allegedly indulged in vandalism and also assaulted a police sub-inspector (PSI). Police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the mob.
“The mob threw stones at the PCR van of Pradyumannagar police station and damaged it. They also vandalised three shops opposite Galaxy Cinema and one in Fulchhab Chowk. We repeatedly asked them to disperse but to no avail… So we used mild force,” Manoharsinh Jadeja, deputy commissioner of police (Zone-II), told media persons.
The DCP added that KD Patel, a PSI attached to the Pradyumannagar police station, was injured in the violence and the mob targeted furniture of four shops, including an omelet outlet in Fulchhab Chowk. “The PSI was kicked on his face by some members of the mob and suffered minor injuries… “We are in the process of registering a case of rioting and damage to public property,” said Jadeja.
Police said the organisers didn’t have police permission to take out the rally. No arrest was made in the case yet.
Jasdan town and Vinchhiya village in Rajkot were partially shut in protest of the alleged murder.
The Chhota Udepur district police on Monday arrested six persons in two separate FIRs filed over a clash that broke out at the Ramji temple late Sunday during a prayer meeting organised for Kishan Bharwad. The two FIRs were filed by persons from two communities against each other.
The first FIR filed at the Chhota Udepur police station at 10 pm on January 30 in connection with a clash that broke out during the prayer meeting for Bharwad at the Ramji temple has booked 21 persons of the minority community, who allegedly attacked people at the prayer. Four persons have been arrested.
The second FIR registered at 2.30 am on Monday was filed by a father-son duo from the minority community who were passing by the site where the alleged clash took place. Two persons who allegedly put up social media posts making objectionable comments against the religious beliefs of the minority community were arrested.
Superintendent of Police, Chhota Udepur, Dharmendra Sharma, told The Indian Express, “We detained some people from the temple clash. That is when members of the minority community came forward to complain about the post that hurt their religious sentiments… We took their complaint and both accused have been arrested in that case too… We have arrested a total of six persons so far.”
In Surat, the Maldhari community took out rally from Ramnagar area in Rander, chanting slogans on justice for Kishan Bharwad. They also organised a prathna sabha in Ramnager and carried out protests, demanding capital punishment for the murder accused.
Maldhari community people from different talukas in Dangs district handed over a memorandum to Ahwa mamlatdar, demanding strict action against the accused in Bharwad’s murder.
Amit Vasava, deputy commissioner of police, Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, told The Indian Express, “We appeal to citizens to maintain peace and not pay attention to rumours on social media. The police are keeping a watch on social media and even before the Dhandhuka murder case, we have been taking action against those who have been trying to create rift between communities through instigating posts. We urge citizens to not take matters in their own hands and report to police if they come across any instigating or misleading posts.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which has been at the forefront of protests against the murder of Bharwad, released a statement appealing for peace. “The Gujarat government has taken satisfactory action as per the demands of the Hindu community whose feelings have been hurt. Government officials have given confidence to the Hindu community that action will be taken… Religious leaders and citizens of Gujarat have appealed to the VHP to not continue with… public demonstrations. The VHP appeals to all Hindu brothers to not hold any protests, demonstrations or application submission programmes and cooperate in maintaining peace at their local level,” read a statement by Ashok Rawal, secretary, VHP Gujarat.
Kishan Bharwad’s in-laws organised a prayer meeting in their Khodiyar Nagar residence in Vadodara on Monday, demanding “public punishment” for the accused in the murder case.
Jesang Bharwad, Kisan’s father-in-law, said, “We only want to tell the government that the accused should be tried at the earliest in a fast track court…”
Bharwad’s brother-in-law Prakash said that his sister had married the deceased two years ago and the couple got a daughter on January 2. Prakash told reporters on Monday, “We want justice. This murder has links in Pakistan and it should be thoroughly investigated. We want justice for my sister and her new born daughter.”
BJP leader Alpesh Thakor visited Bharwad’s family in Chachana village under Chuda taluka of Surendranagar and announced Rs 1 lakh assistance for Bharwad’s child. A delegation of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee also met Bharwad’s family in the village on Monday.
With inputs from Kamaal Saiyed
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