Seven students were injured during a clash with police over a garba dance event organised on a university campus in Gujarat’s Surat during the continuing Navratri festival, officials said today.
Surat commissioner ordered an inquiry into the incident that happened within the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University around 9 pm on Monday, when students resisted a police team’s try to stop the event. it had been allegedly organised in violation of the government’s COVID-19 guidelines for such events, they said.
Students were then detained and brought to an area police headquarters, where a bunch of scholars allegedly clashed with the safety personnel.
Seven students were injured within the clash and later hospitalised, officials said.
Garba could be a popular folk dance of Gujarat and is performed during the Navratri festival, which this year started from October 7.
The Gujarat government on September 24 allowed the organisation of sheri garba (traditional garba) in housing societies and on streets with a limit of 400 participants and strict adherence to the quality operating procedures (SOPs), including the condition that each participant should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, commercial organisation of garba events has not been allowed this year.
According to Zone III Deputy Commissioner of Police (in-charge) KF Baloliya, an outsized number of scholars gathered on the university campus on Monday night to attend the garba.
“A team of personnel from Umra station house went there to test after learning that the event was organised in violation of the state government’s guidelines. When the police personnel went there, they faced resistance from students,” he said.
The police detained four students, who had organised the event, and took them to Umra station house.
A group of scholars followed them and gathered outside the police office where they shouted slogans against the police, the official said.
“As per the scholars, seven of them were injured. it’s their claim that they were injured in baton-charge by police, but we are going to be able to say anything only after receiving the report,” he said.
Surat commissioner Ajay Tomar said he has asked the DCP to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within three days.
“From what i’ve got learnt, the university’s administrator permitted garba event on the campus as the govt. had decided to not permit any sort of garba, aside from the ‘sheri garba’. plenty of individuals gathered there. When police learnt about this, they visited check and faced resistance from students,” Mr Tomar said.
A woman member of the RSS-backed Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) claimed that three police vans entered the university campus, and a number of other security personnel got down and commenced abusing the scholars over the garba event organised there.
When the ABVP members accompanied them to the police headquarters, the police hit students with batons, leaving seven of them injured. The policemen also abused some female students,” she alleged.