Police arrested another 20 people on Monday for allegedly hoisting a ‘bhagva’ (saffron) flag on a dargah during a ‘Hanuman Jayanti procession’ without police permission in Veraval town of Gir Somnath district on Saturday . With that, the number of arrests in the incident rose to 25.
“We have arrested 20 other people for taking away Hanuman Jayanti’s motorcade without the authorization of the competent authorities,” said police inspector Sunil Israni, head of the Veraval city police station.
Around 100 people reportedly marched from a Hanuman temple in Kharvavad to mark Hanuman Jayanti on Saturday, allegedly without seeking permission from authorities. As the procession passed by the Dargah of Magrebisha Bapu, a few of the procession hoisted ‘bhagva’ flags over the premises of the dargah. Videos of four people waving saffron flags at the dargah had gone viral. However, the police had arrived at the scene and diffused the situation.
Based on a complaint filed by Kadarshah Shahmadar, munjavar of Magrebisha Bapu’s Dargah, Veraval town police station had charged three unidentified persons under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between two communities for reasons of religion, etc.) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). Based on another complaint filed by HB Musa, a sub-inspector of the Veraval city police station, the police convicted Nagin Khunti and his older brother Hitesh Khunti under Article 188 of the CIP (violation of the notification issued by an official) for having taken out the procession supposedly without authorization.
“Those arrested on Monday were part of the procession that was illegally taken out and were therefore reserved as well,” Israni said, adding, “We reacted quickly to the situation and convinced the leaders of the two communities to maintain law and order. With their cooperation, peace reigns in the city.
By Sunday, police had arrested five people and detained an underage boy in the incident.