The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea of a man who is accused of brandishing a sword during a Ram Navami procession in the state’s Himmatnagar city on April 10, PTI reported.
Prakash Pandya has also been accused of participating in the procession that had turned violent, the Hindustan Times reported. He had sought bail from the court saying that the procession was organised after taking permission from the police.
When asked about his client having wielded a sword during the procession, Pandya’s lawyer told the court that such weapons are carried during the festivals of Ram Navami and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
“There was a sword in my client’s hand,” his lawyer told the court, according to PTI. “It is seen from CCTV footage. On occasions like Ram Navami and Guru Nanak Jayanti, people take these weapons [swords] along with them in shobha yatra [processions].”
Justice Samir Dave, however, rejected Pandya’s plea and directed him to approach the court after the chargesheet is filed in the case.
Members of the Hindu and Muslim communities had thrown stones at each other during the procession in the city. Several vehicles and shops were torched. The police had used tear gas shells to bring the crowd under control. Ten people were detained in connection with the violence in Himmatnagar.
On April 26, the Gujarat government demolished properties that they allege were encroachments in the Chhapariya locality, which is close to where the communal violence had taken place.
The state government’s decision to raze properties of those allegedly involved in the violence follows similar actions taken by the Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh administrations where properties owned by Muslims were tagged as “illegal encroachments” overnight.