Other States

Gujarat violence: Probe custodial death, says High Court

Even as Gujarat returned to normality on Friday with curfew being lifted from Mehsana, Visnagar and Unjha and several areas of Ahmedabad, the High Court ordered the CID (Crime) to investigate the alleged custodial death of 32-year-old Shwetang Patel. He was reportedly picked up by the police from his residence in Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad on the night of August 25, 2015 when unrest broke out all over the State following the detention of quota agitation leader Hardik Patel.

Shwetang allegedly died in custody after being severely beaten up by the policemen. The court has asked the Ahmedabad police to file an FIR of the complaint of Shwetang’s mother against the cops.

Justice J.B. Pardiwala, while ordering the probe, observed that “prima facie, it appeared to be a case of homicide.”

Advocate Rohit Patel, who appeared for Shwetang Patel’s mother, said: “In the post-mortem report, which the court read out during the hearing, it is categorically mentioned that the death was due to severe external and internal injuries caused by beating.”

The police, however, maintained that Shwetang Patel was part of the mob that was involved in arson and rioting in Bapunagar area on August 25.

Victim picked up from house: mother

Shwetang Patel was picked up by the police from his house.

His mother, Prabhaben, told the Guarat High Court on Friday through counsel that her son was in the house when a few policemen came, damaged vehicles in the parking area and picked up five persons including Shwetang from their residences at around 10.30 p.m.

Meanwhile, on a separate petition alleging police excesses during the two-day violence in which 10 persons were killed, the High Court has directed the Home Secretary to be present in court during the next hearing.

During the two-day unrest, there have been numerous complaints of “excessive force” used by the cops on protesters.

The CCTV footage from several Patel-dominated localities show the police entering residential areas, damaging vehicles and beating up residents in their houses.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and State DGP P.C. Thakur also reprimanded the police, warning them not to harass innocent civilians, or damage their vehicles and properties. The Chief Minister has also ordered an inquiry into the lathicharge on the agitators and media persons that led to the spread of violence to other Gujarat towns.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:37:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-high-court-slams-police-for-custodial-death-during-violence/article7590427.ece

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