The victims of communal Violence at Khambhat have moved the Gujarat High Court seeking a transfer of investigation to State CID citing that the police showed its religious bias and that police, directly and indirectly, encouraged the mob.
The petition seeks the court's intervention "to initiate departmental, civil and criminal action against erring officers responsible for non-transparent, unfair, discriminatory treatment in connection with both the FIRs.".
They state that pursuant to the Ram Navmi procession and the Shobha Yatra several incidents of looting and burning of the private properties, houses, shops and other places took place causing substantial damage of irreversible nature. Religious places were also consciously and deliberately damaged. It is said that the petitioners are victims of the communal violence and have suffered on account of looting and burning of their houses and their shops.
In all 4 cabin shops, 1 shop, 1 building, 1 house were looted and burnt to ashes. One Dargah was substantially damaged in order to hurt the sentiments of one section of the society. The petitioner stated that he is not accused in any FIRs.
It is stated that the FIRs were registered on 10 April 2022, but till today no arrests have been made.
"Every day a new arrest is being made in the first FIR whereas in the second FIR, nothing happens. The same police investigating both the FIRs deliberately, consciously, and in a mala fide manner, don't take any action with respect to offences arising out of the second FIR. Therefore, the investigation is biased, manifestly arbitrary, grossly discriminatory," claimed the four petitioners on behalf of the Muslim residents of Khambhat.
Noticeably, the first FIR was lodged under sections 143, 149 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 337, 338 (hurt and grievous hurt caused due to rash or negligent action), 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (voluntary hurt to public servant), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). More than 30 arrests have been made by Anand police while investigating this FIR.
The second FIR was initially lodged on April 27 under sections 143, 149 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 337 (hurt caused by rash or negligent act) and 504 (intentional provocation to break public peace) of the IPC. Later offences under sections 435, 436 (mischief by fire), 447 (criminal trespass) and 427 (commits mischief causing loss or damage to the amount of fifty rupees or more) under the IPC were added to the FIR. This FIR is yet to be investigated by the local police.
"All those arrest which are made belongs to one section of society namely the minority. The investigation that has been carried out has been one sided based on religious consideration and religious bias. Every day new arrest is being made in the First FIR whereas in the Second FIR, nothing happens. Every day new conspiracy theories are floated with respect to First FIR whereas in the Second FIR, inspite of addition of sec. 435, 436, 447 and 427 of IPC, the same police investigating into both the FIRs deliberately, consciously, in a mala fide manner, as a part of colourable exercise of power, based on extra-legal and extra-constitutional considerations, doesn't take any action with respect to offences arising out of Second FIR." the petition reads.
In view of the above, the petitioner states that the investigation is biased, manifestly arbitrary, grossly discriminatory and therefore violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India and hence unconstitutional.
Therefore, he has prayed for the investigation to be transferred to the State CID Crime or to CBI. The petitioners have also asked for incorporation of Sec. 153A, 153B, 295, 295A, 395 and 120B of IPC with respect to the second FIR along with compensation for the loss of property and further losses that they have suffered in communal violence, in accordance with law.
Case Title : Vasimbhai Yakubbhai Ghanchi Vora And Others Vs. State of Gujarat and Others