Mob assaults two Siddi men and their friend in Gujarat's Veraval; four arrested, sent to judicial custody, says police

On 3 June, three men  —  two from Siddi community and another from Laghumati community — were tied to a bench and beaten up by a mob in Veraval, a hub of fishing industries in Gujarat's Gir Somnath district

Devansh Dixit June 10, 2020 21:55:25 IST
Mob assaults two Siddi men and their friend in Gujarat's Veraval; four arrested, sent to judicial custody, says police

On 3 June, three men were tied together and beaten up by a mob in Gujarat's Veraval, a hub of fishing industries in the Gir Somnath district. The incident took place near Bhidia port where Samir Majgul (21) and Mustaq Bhalaya (20) from the Siddi community and Kanji (20) from the Laghumati community had gone looking for work.

"We were all standing near a galla and having tea. After some time, a fight between two groups broke out and the place became crowded. The other group, which was involved in the fight, ran away. Suddenly, the mob turned to us. They alleged that we were members of the other group and started attacking us,” said Samir while speaking with Firstpost.

In a video of the incident, which has gone viral on social media, Samir, Mustaq and Kanji are seen tied to a concrete bench while four-five people slap them continuously.

Other people in the crowd can be heard supporting the act. "Thrash them in such a way that they bleed,” people can be heard yelling in the video.

The victims were rescued by the police after receiving a complaint by Hasambhai, vice-president, Junagadh Jilla Adivasi Vikas Parishad.

"I got a call about the boys being tied and beaten up. I immediately called the police and informed them. A police vehicle was sent to the spot and our boys were saved," Hasambhai told Firstpost.

The three survivors were admitted to the Rajkot Civil Hospital by the police with severe injuries. They have been discharged now.

The police said that a case has been registered and four accused have been arrested till now. The survivors have been provided with police security as well.

"We have arrested four people in that case and they have been sent to judicial custody. An inquiry is going on, if more people are found guilty then we will take legal action against them too,” Rahul Tripathi, Superintendent of Police, Gir Somnath District told Firstpost.

The accused, one of whom is reportedly a member of Veraval Boats’ Association, have been booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989,  and under Section 325 (voluntarily causing hurt) and Section 326 (causing hurt using dangerous weapons) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While the police and the survivors' accounts suggest that the three men were randomly targeted, the accused in the case have also filed a counter complaint.

Siddis are an Indo-African tribal community. Members of the community say that they are descendants from the Bantu people of Eastern Africa. They settled in India in the Seventh century in Gujarat, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh.

The Central Government classified Siddis as Scheduled Tribes in 2003. They have also been accorded with ST status in Goa, in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot and Surendranagar districts of Gujarat, the Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu.

Speaking with Firstpost, Farida K Al-Mubrik, a leader from the Siddi community said, "This incident cannot happen again. People who have committed such a heinous crime should be severely punished. This has happened for the first time and there is evident prejudice which led to this. The boys went there just for some work. They were attacked because they belonged to a particular community, and looked a certain way. That is just wrong."

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