Updated: August 27, 2015 8:02:10 pm
Taking strong note of CCTV footage showing policemen vandalising cars, Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered the police commissioner to conduct a probe and submit a report within two weeks into allegations that policemen opened fire in air and damaged property to create terror during Patel community quota stir.
“CCTV footage shows the police is involved in damaging private property, if police does so… what is the difference between rioters and protectors,” asked the High Court.
It was hearing a plea filed by a city-based lawyer Virat Popat and his colleague Tirth Dave, who alleged that around 40 police personnel entered their housing society and started vandalising vehicles on August 25. The petitioners lso submitted the CCTV footage of the incident.
During the arguments in the case, the court asked the state authorities “why action was not taken against the responsible cops”.
“What message it gives to people? Top authorities (of the state government) should take it very seriously so that public confidence can be restored in police,” the High Court observed.
Justice J B Pardiwala directed the city Police Commissioner to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within a fortnight.
The High Court also issued notice to the state government, home department, Director General of Police, the city Police commissioner and officer in-charge of Sola police station, under whose jurisdiction the alleged violence by police personel took place.
The alleged incident occurred on a day when violence and incidents of arson broke out in the city following detention of Patel agitation leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday.
“An atmosphere of terror was created as police fired four rounds in air as well as lobbed teargas shells in the private society without any reason,” said the petitioners in the plea demanding that action should be taken against the personnel involved in the violence.
They stated that the state has clearly failed to protect the fundamental as well as statutory rights of the citizens. The policemen entered the society and vandalised the vehicles and started lobbing tear-gas shells even though the residents there did not indulge in agitation, the plea said.
“Shots were fired in the premises of society, teargas were also lobbed in the premises of society ostensibly under the garb of preventing violence,” it said.
“For no reason such an act could have been done by police officers who had entered the society without due authority of law,” it said.
“The incident narrates sheer abuse of power by the police flouting all settled norms,” the plea said while seeking appropriate directions from the High Court and also compensation for damage to their property.
The petitioners have also demanded that an FIR be registered against the police men and urged that the matter should be investigated by an independent agency.
The plea is posted for hearing after two weeks.
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