New Delhi, July 21, 2023 (PPI-OT): Muslims are living in fear in Indian state of Gujarat’s Patan district after some police personnel tied their hands and paraded nine Muslim men around Balisha village. The action followed a communal clash between members of two communities over a social media post on the Islamophobic movie ‘The Kerala Story’. The incident has drawn outrage on social media after its video went viral.

Akhyansu Pattnaik took it to Twitter and criticised the police action. “Public parading of the accused, convicts or even POWs isn’t a norm in any democracy. Which rule book allows state police to act in this manner? If police in India acts like an extension of a political party how is it any different from vigilante groups recruited by the Taliban?” he wrote. Ajay Jaisinghani tweeted: This looks barbaric!!!!! Where have we ended up!!!!

Mujahid Nafis, convener of the Minority Coordination Committee in Gujarat, visited the village on Thursday. After communal clashes, the police apprehended nine Muslims and paraded them on the road, he said. “People are living in fear. They are saying that they were paraded because they were Muslims. They are innocent. The police did not file FIR on their complaint but filed false FIR against them. This is what common Muslims are saying,” Nafis told media over the phone.

He said that the police action is against the law and they are planning legal action against the erring cops. “The Minorities Coordination Committee will employ all legal remedies in this case. This is a shameful and condemnable incident. The ones who know laws violate these laws. We feel extremely bad. Such incidents happen even when the law is equal for all. It seems the police are hell-bent on humiliating Muslims,” said Nafis.

He also has filed a petition against the recent public flogging of some Muslim youth by Gujarat police in Junagarh. Talking to the media, Patan Superintendent of Police Vijay Patel said clashes broke out after a man named Krish Patel from Balisana village of Patan taluka put up a post. Members of the Muslim community objected to it. Though the issue was resolved, members of both communities, armed with sticks and iron pipes, later resorted to rioting. Patel said two cross-complaints have been filed in the case and six persons were injured in the rioting. “We have arrested eight of the ten accused on a complaint filed by a representative of the Hindu group and named two men as accused in the complaint filed by a representative of the Muslim group,” said Patel.

The arrested Muslims are Khalilbhai Ilyasbhai Sikandar Shaikh (42), Yamin Abdulbhai Miyabhai Shaikh (20), Ahmed Hussain Fakir Shaikh (20), Ushai Ibrahimbhai Shaikh (45), Arifbhai Abdul Shaikh (32), Shikandar Abdulbhai Shaikh (22), Ilyasdullah Asim Ahmed Shaikh (48), Rizwanbhai Kottorbhai Shaikh (32), Noor Mahmoodbhai Shaikh (23) and Jiauddin Mahmood Iqbal (37). They were booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (grievous hurt), 324, 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147, 148 (rioting), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) and 294 (b) (utters obscenity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to Indian media, the police have not made any arrests in the FIR filed by the Muslim side. Krish and Nimesh are the two accused named in the FIR.

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