Hasmukh Patel, a BJP councillor in Vadodara, was tied to a tree and thrashed by a group of residents of Bapod area on Tuesday.Around 118 families living near Bapod lake were displaced in a demolition drive in May and given alternative housing nearby.When Patel went there to clear vegetation overgrowth, the angry mob vented their anger over displacement
Corporator Tied To Tree, Beaten Up By Angry Mob
In an unprecedented display of public wrath, a group of citizens tied a sitting corporator of ruling BJP in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to a tree and thrashed him in Bapod area on the city’s outskirts on Monday .Hasmukh Patel (60), corporator and member of VMC’s standing committee, had to face the anger of people who were displaced from their houses near Bapod lake five months ago in a razing drive for beautification of the water body . The group not only subjected him to the humiliating treatment but also shot the video of his plight, which went viral on social media.

Patel and VMC executive engineer Amrut Makwana had reached Bapod to look into some civic complaints. The ousted from the slums got to know that Patel was present there and rushed to the spot. They picked up an argument with Patel and star ted manhandling him. When Makwana intervened, they dragged Patel away . Makwana called the police but before they could arrive, the mob tied him with a tree and started thrashing him. Patel’s son Suketu who had rushed to the spot when Patel’s driver informed him about the incident was also beaten up by the mob.

The mob kept asking him why were houses that were constructed under the Indira Aavas Yojana razed by the civic body? Members of the mob are also seen asking him why were no notices issued by the VMC for the razing drive? One of the residents also alleged that Patel had not handed them over the notices about razing their houses.

“I tried to intervene, but they dragged him away . I then called the police who rescued him,“ he said. He added that Patel had sought for an excavator to remove vegetation overgrowth in the area.

Patel is seen defending himself stating that the process of the razing drive was an administrative one and the notices were issued by officials.He even said that he was merely a corporator of a ward and did not know what was happening at the city-level.

Some of those who were ousted from the slum near the pond said that they were given houses in a housing scheme for the urban poor, but it lacked basic amenities. Many believed that Patel had come to the spot to raze some shanties that were erected there by those who had returned from the housing scheme. Patel was beaten with pipes and sticks due to which his leg fractured and he was admitted at a private hospital in Panigate area.

Mayor Bharat Dangar said that the razing drive was conducted several months back and all 118 beneficiaries were given houses at a nearby site in Bapod itself. “No grievances were made to us so far. The extreme nature of the incident of tying Patel to a tree and beating him up mercilessly reflects that civic issues may not be the reason. The motives could even be political,“ said Dangar.

Deputy commissioner of police Sajjansinh Parmar said that around 70 persons including both men and women had been detained by the police. He those detained had rushed to the Bapod police station to make representations. An offence lodged at the Bapod police station states that Patel was beaten by a mob of around 100 persons. Eight accused have been named in the FIR.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/index.aspx?eid=31805&dt=20171004

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