Commission to probe death of retired Army officer

GANDHINAGAR, JULY 20. The Gujarat Government has appointed Mr. Justice J.P. Desai, a retired judge of the High Court, to constitute a one-man commission to probe the death of Colonel Pratap Save, allegedly in police custody.

Col. Save, a retired Army officer, was heading the Kinara Bachao Sangharsha Samiti which was agitating against the State Government's plan for the construction of the Maroli Commercial Port near Umbergaon in south Gujarat.

He was picked up from his residence after he organised a rally on April 7 against the Government's move and was allegedly tortured in custody. He was admitted to hospitals in Umbergaon and Vapi and later shifted to the Hinduja hospital in Mumbai where he underwent two brain surgeries and died on April 20. His death had been agitating the minds of the local people, particularly those belonging to the fishermen and farming communities who were opposing the move to construct a commercial port at Umbergaon. They feared that the commercial port would ruin the fishing business of nearly 1,000 families in the area and also turn the land saline. The Kinara Bachao Samiti, however, was favouring construction of a fishing port in Umbergaon instead of a commercial port.