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Sanghavi: Anti-social elements, not any community, behind Kheda clashes

When asked about the video clips that purportedly show a man flogging those arrested for pelting stones at the garba event, Sanghavi told The Indian Express, “I will be going to Gandhinagar and (then) check all the details.”

Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi offers Shastra Puja in Surat Wednesday. (Express photo by Hanif Malek)

Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi Wednesday said that a gang of “anti-social elements” were responsible for the violent clashes during a garba event in Kheda and not people from “any community”.

When asked about the video clips that purportedly show a man flogging those arrested for pelting stones at the garba event, Sanghavi told The Indian Express, “I will be going to Gandhinagar and (then) check all the details.”

Sanghavi was in Surat for the Dussehra celebrations where, speaking to mediapersons, he said, “We have seen the incident of Kheda, wherein the Navratri festival was being peacefully enjoyed by people. All the villagers, devotees of the goddess, were playing garba at the temple. At that time, not any community, but some anti-social gang from the village made a definite attempt to disrupt the peace in the village. I truly believe that in Gujarat those who abide by the law will truly benefit.”

Sanghavi who is an MLA from Majura constituency in Surat, went to Surat police head quarter to attend Shashtra puja  Vijayadashami (Dussehra), in presence of Police Commissioner Ajay Kumar Tomar, and several other police officials. He addressed the media after the puja.

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At least nine persons were injured in clashes that broke out during a garba hosted by the Undhela village sarpanch near the Tulja Bhavani temple that was located close to a madrassa.

Meanwhile, a local court in Nadiad Wednesday remanded  three of the 13 accused in two-day police custody while sending 10 others, including a woman, to judicial custody.

The Matar police station and Kheda Local Crime Branch continued to conduct combing operations in the area to nab  30 other identified accused. An additional mob of 150 persons, who are yet to be identified, have also been booked in the case.

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A senior official said that the police had sought remand on the ground that the three persons were “leading a mob and instigating” the other members of the mob after keeping a watch on the garba players.

The official added that the police has told the court that it is a matter of investigation if the riot was pre planned because it was “clearly provocative and orchestrated with the intention of causing death of members of the Hindu community”, which the FIR also states.

DySP Nadiad, VR Bajpayee, told The Indian Express, “We are yet to arrest the other accused. So far 13 persons have been arrested until Wednesday evening and produced in court… Regarding the video, we are ascertaining its authenticity. ”

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The video clips show at least four-five men being held, one after the other, by a group of men in plainclothes against an electricity pole at a chowk and being flogged with a lathi by one man with a holstered gun on his belt.

Those flogged are then seen folding their hands before a cheering crowd before being directed by the men in plainclothes to get into a police van nearby.

Congress MLAs Imran Khedawala and Gyasuddin Sheikh, referring to the video and identifying the group of men seen beating the “accused”, as police officers, have demanded that the “policemen” be “immediately suspended”.

First published on: 05-10-2022 at 11:43:18 pm
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