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‘He was beaten with bamboo sticks and stabbed’: Uncle recounts deadly mob attack on Salman Vohra during cricket match

“Salman didn’t even like cricket; he just went to Chikhodra to pass his time with his friend Imroz after evening prayers. He was brutally beaten with bamboo sticks and stabbed with a knife so horribly it punctured his kidney. Can you believe that they even bit off his ear? We’re still in shock about what happened to him”, says Nauman Anwar Vohra, Salman’s Uncle

Salman Anwar Vohra, a 30-year-old resident of Polson Compound in Anand, Gujarat, became a victim of the increasing incidents of mob violence that have plagued the nation since the recent Lok Sabha election results. He was brutally attacked by a mob in Chikhodra village while attending a cricket match.

On the night of June 22nd, a final match was in between two teams, Maahi Eleven and Baapji Eleven. The organizer was Harshadbhai Govindbhai Parmar, the Sarpanch of Chikhodra, and the son of BJP MLA Govindbhai Raijibhai Parmar from Umreth constituency in Gujarat.

Salman suffered horrific injuries, including severe wounds to his lower waist and neck that caused heavy bleeding, and deep bruises all over his body. His uncle, Nauman, said that a knife had pierced Salman’s kidney, a fatal injury which resulted in his untimely death.

“I am the spot witness of the incident. I was 20-25 yards away and was on a call, I didn’t expect things to turn this awful. I was beaten up with a bamboo stick and suffered minor injuries on my hand and back. After the incident, I registered the FIR right away as the family was too traumatised to take any action,” says Imroz Vohra, Salman’s friend.

Imroz clarified how the fight didn’t begin due to a bike parking issue. Salman intervened to protect Shoaib, one of the spectators who somehow got into a scuffle with 2 men on a bike who threatened him and then circled back with a group of men to attack him. Salman pitched in to rescue Shoaib but lost his life in the process.

The FIR, filed on June 23rd at the Anand Rural police station, lists various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These include charges such as Punishment for unlawful assembly (IPC 143), rioting (IPC 147), possession of a deadly weapon (IPC 148), murder (IPC 302), and voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon (IPC 324), as well as offences under The Gujarat Police Act.

Hafiji, a local from Anand informed The Observer Post that the tensions flared ahead of the match due to the outstanding performance of Muslim players in the tournament, which unsettled certain locals connected with right-wing groups. According to him, several key players in the quarterfinals and semifinals were Muslims.

Hafiji said, “The crowd had increased as it was the final match. One team was predominantly Muslim, while the opposing team included 2-3 Muslim players. The first innings were played by the opposing team, the incident happened before the team, mostly with Muslim players could perform, chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ erupted from a section of the crowd.”

Hafiji spoke out, criticizing Muslim and Congress leaders for their silence. He accused them of merely visiting the family, taking photos for publicity, and not doing any real groundwork to help with the case.

Sohail Chistiya from Nadiad, who runs the Chistiya Foundation and actively speaks out against violence towards Muslims says, “The main culprits are Harshad and the MLA’s nephew Shakti. The person Salman tried to save, Shoaib, was stabbed three times by Shakti under the arm and got 12 stitches. We’ve included Shakti’s name in the FIR and are trying our best to get Harshad’s name added too, but the police aren’t cooperating because of political pressure.”

Sohail also claimed that Harshad made Islamophobic comments, urging the crowd to harm Muslims. Suhail further stated that he has filed an application to the Police Inspector and SP to transfer the case due to concerns about the MLA’s potential political influence on the current investigators.

Seven individuals have been arrested in connection with the incident, and the court has granted them seven days of remand. Those arrested include Mehul alias Gheto Dineshbhai Parmar, Kiran alias Holo Mafatbhai Parmar, Mahendra alias Fulio Rameshbhai Vaghela, Akshay alias Ako Narsinghbhai Parmar, Ratilal Raisingbhai Parmar, Vijay alias Pakorani Mangalbhai Parmar (all from Chikhodara), and Ketan Mahendrabhai Patel from Vaghasi.

He was a simple man, he was religious, he was not someone who socialised a lot, his parents, wife and siblings are in shock,” stated Nauman Vohra.

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