High Court notice to state on Motera violence

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Ahmedabad, Aug 14 (UNI) A division bench of the Gujarat High Court today issued notices to the State Home Secretary and others to file their replies by August 22 on a Public Interest Litigation by Jan Sangharsh Manch, praying for constitution of a Special Investigation Team to inquire into incidents of violent attacks on residents of Motera village by disciples of Asaram Bapu's Ashram last month.

The bench, comprising acting Chief Justice M S Shah and Justice J C Upadhyay, issued notices to the State Home Secretary, Director General of Police and District Superintendent of Police, Gandhinagar, to file their replies by August 22.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocates Dr Mukul Sinha and S H Iyer contended that the mysterious death of two minor children at Asaram Bapu's Ashram at Motera on July 5 snowballed into a large scale-protest and subsequently led to ''Gujarat Bandh'' on July 18.

They told the court that several trucks had come out from the Ashram, carrying over 1,000 disciples armed with lathis, pipes, sticks and such other weapons, and had entered the nearby localities and beat up residents and ransacked their houses.

They had specifically targeted the area known as Veljibhai Kuvo housing. Several media personnel were also severely beaten up and their cameras destroyed. In yet another incident, a young woman was molested and beaten up. She was rushed to Sheth Pukhraj Raichand General Hospital at Ramnagar, Sabarmati.

The 'Sadhaks' of the ashram had once again attacked them in the afternoon. During the entire period of both the attacks no policemen had come to the rescue of residents despite frequent SOS calls made to the police control room as well as the Adalaj Police Station.

The petitioner contended that police authorities, who are duty bound to protect the life and property of residents, have miserably failed and abdicated their duty and thereby acted contrary to the constitutional mandate of protecting the life and liberty of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The petitioner prayed for direction to the authorities to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT), under the supervision of a police officer not below the rank of DIG to be named by the High Court, to investigate into all the incidents of violent attacks on residents of Motera village and in particular, the Ramakakani Chali, and take such necessary steps deemed necessary in accordance with the law.

The petitioner further prayed to provide appropriate protection to residents of the localities and quantify the damage caused to the residents and their properties and compensate the residents for such loss and damage suffered by them.

UNI PVN OBB BDP NS1921

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