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Gujarat: Muslim Man 'Hit With Bats, Knives' At Cricket Match, Dies in Hospital

"He just got married two months ago; his wife, Mashira is also a few weeks pregnant," said Salman's uncle.

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(Trigger Warning: This story contains some graphic details. Proceed with caution).

Twenty-three year-old Salman Vohra had only gone to watch a cricket tournament match in Chikhodra, Gujarat on 22 June. He ended up being mercilessly beaten to death.

What happened in the case?

Speaking to The Quint, his uncle Noman Anwar Vohra said:

"He had just gone to watch the final cricket match. No one would have thought this will happen. He just got married two months ago; his wife Mashira is also a month-pregnant."

Salman was a resident of Polson compound in Gujarat's Anand and worked in the garment business.

Locals say that tensions had begun even before the match because Muslim players were doing very well in the tournament and this didn't go down well with a section of pro-Hindutva locals.

According to activist Aasim Khedawala, students told him that many of the players who did well in quarter finals and semi-finals were Muslims. Apparently even in the final, one team mostly comprised of Muslims and the other team also had 2-3 Muslims.

The organisers had warned that a there could be a communal confrontation because of this and many of the Muslim players also said that they didn't feel safe.

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"When they were playing, a section of the crowd began shouting 'Jai Shri Ram'. It was clear that they did not want the Muslim players to do well."
Activist Aasim Khedawala to The Quint

The crowd swelled up to around 5,000 people, out of which Muslims were not more than about 500 say some of those present.

The violence started with a parking dispute. A group of men, one of them being drunk, allegedly came in their motorcycles and got into a fight with Salman, telling him to move his bike from the stand.

They kept saying, "Vohra, do what we're telling you to do."

A few moments later, they returned with 4-5 more men. The one who was drunk mistook another Muslim man, Suhail to be Salman and began attacking him.

In order to save Suhail from these men, Salman jumped in and the mob surrounded him.

'One Ear Was Almost Bitten Off'

This is when the men started mercilessly beating Salman. The crowd present looked on and some of them even cheered the attackers. In a video accessed by The Quint, some men in the crowd shouted, "maaro! maaro!" (Hit him! Hit him!).

The men finally stopped hitting Salman when they assumed there was no energy or will left in him.

A few onlookers picked him up, made him drink water and also called for the ambulance. The ambulance took him to a nearby hospital but on reaching there, they were told to go to a bigger private hospital. But the moment they reached the second hospital and spoke to the doctor, Salman succumbed to his injuries.

I saw his body. He had marks on his right hand, cuts below his eyes, his ear was brutally damaged. In fact, they (the attackers) almost bit his ear off. The knife cut damaged his kidney, which was the biggest wound. He was also beaten on his lower waist and neck so these areas of his body bled a lot.
Noman Vohra, Salman's Uncle to The Quint
"He just got married two months ago; his wife, Mashira is also a few weeks pregnant," said Salman's uncle.

The mob gathered around Salman but no one intervened to help, the rest watched or cheered on.

(Photo: Screenshot of the video accessed by The Quint)

The post-mortem report, as seen by the uncle and Aasim Khedawala stated that the knife had entered the kidney, which was one of the main reasons behind his death.

Apart from Salman, two other Muslim men were injured, one of them got around 17 stitches and the other around 7 stitches.

The family finally managed to file an FIR at 4 AM on 23 June at the Anand Rural police station.

The Investigating Officer in the case, AJ Asari told The Quint, "We have arrested two more people now so that brings the total to nine arrests. With the help of the viral video we're trying to identify more accused and are still searching for the main accused Vishal and Shakti mentioned in the FIR."

The names of the accused who have been arrested are: Mehul Dinesh Parmar, Kiran Mafat Parmar, Mahendra Ramesh Vaghela, Ketan Mahendra Patel, Akshay Narsinh Parmar,Ratilala Raising Parmar, Vijay Mangal Parmar, Mukesh Rajesh Parmar, Rakesh Babu Parmar, Vijay Chhagan Parmarand Ketan Bharat Parmar.

The Quint has accessed the FIR copy. It includes sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as: 143 (Punishment for unlawful assembly) 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Being armed with a deadly weapon) 302 (Murder) and 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon) among others, including The Gujarat Police Act.

In the FIR, an eyewitness, Imroz has laid down all the details of the incident and stated that two of the accused Vishal and Shakti brutally beat Salman with bats and knives. Both of them have not been arrested yet.

Their lawyer, Advocate Gulrez Saiyad told The Quint that "The court has given seven days remand for all these accused. Rest, the investigation is underway so cannot say more."

On the other hand, Aasim Khedawala believes hat the section 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy) needs to be included in the FIR.

"The fact that the men could easily bring in knives on the cricket ground premises suggests that it was intentional and planned hence, 120 B section is important to be included," remarked Aasim.

Congress leaders Imran Khedawala and Gyasuddin Shaikh are also pushing for strong action against the accused.

Meanwhile, Noman Vohra stated that Salman's parents, siblings and wife are all in utter shock.

"People are coming to visit so the wound is being opened again and again. His wife is not able to speak right now," he said, adding "he was a simple and religious person".

Nonetheless, Noman said that the police have been cooperative so far and will "hopefully help get justice in the case."

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