Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the flogging of Muslim men by Indian police in the state of Gujarat and called it a “serious human rights violation” showing “utter disrespect towards the law”.
The public flogging has sparked outage with some calling Gujarat an “ugly state to live in”. Nine Muslim men were publicly flogged by policemen, wearing civilian clothes, over allegations of throwing stones in an ongoing Hindu religious event Garba, which is a collective dance for the Hindu goddess Durga.
A video of the incident was recorded in Udhela Village, local media reported, which went viral on social media. In the clip, men were seen tied to a pole and flogged as the crowd including women and children cheered.
The viral clips were mostly taken down from Twitter for being graphic. The police reported to the local Indian media that at least six people were wounded by the alleged stone pelting that the Muslim men did. However, they were not taken to court and were brought to the village instead.
“A group of Muslim youth tried to disrupt the celebration at the village. The Muslim youth had an objection to organising this celebration near a mosque,” Deputy Superintendent of Police V R Bajpai told reporters.
Amnesty said in a tweet that the Gujarat police had committed a serious human rights violation. “We remind the Gujarat Police that punishment is never a legitimate objective for a law enforcement action, even if using less lethal weapons. In this case, it blatantly ignored the guiding principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and accountability.”
Amnesty said that a new state government which will be elected in December this year “has a chance to break this cycle of widespread and unchecked impunity and bring to justice those responsible for this unlawful and excessive use of force.”—AP