The family of Ketan Patel — a Patidar man who had died because of alleged police torture — cremated his body on Sunday at their native Balol village in Mehsana district. The last rites were held in the presence of Patidar community leaders after Ketan’s family accepted his body from Mehsana civil hospital and carried it to Balol in a procession. No untoward incident was reported during this period.
Ketan had died at Mehsana sub-jail on June 5. He was arrested by the district police on June 3 in connection with a theft of Rs 9,500 from a shop.
Following his death, Ketan’s family members had alleged that police tortured him in the custody and that he died of injuries sustained during the alleged police torture. The issue sparked off a controversy with the Opposition
Congress and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) joining Ketan’s family members at Mehsana civil hospital. Ketan’s father, Mahendra, and many other Patidar community leaders had sat on an agitation outside Mehsana civil hospital, saying he would not accept the body till action was taking against policemen “responsible” for Ketan’s death.
Two postmortems conducted on Ketan’s dead body revealed that he had sustained multiple injuries sufficient to cause death. Eventually, police registered an FIR against 10 people and arrested three, including a head constable.
Patidar leaders, however, demanded a CBI probe into Ketan’s death. They had threatened to carry out a procession of Ketan’s dead body from Mehsana to Gandhinagar on Sunday. The government, though, did not budge to their demand of CBI probe.
On Saturday, Ketan’s family and the Patidar leaders finally decided to accept the body and cremate it in Balol, without holding a procession.
Advocate B M Mangukia who has been assisting Ketan’s father, said, “Yesterday, Mahendrabhai sustained a heart attack. And after that, we decided to drop our plan of carrying procession to Gandhinagar. Police authorities also assured us of free and fair investigation in the case.”
“However, if impartial investigation is not carried out in the case, we will hold an ‘Ashthi Yatra’ of Ketan’s ashes,” Mangukia added.