The state government on Wednesday instructed Mehsana police to register an FIR against police officers in connection with death of a Patidar youth who was allegedly tortured in custody. The government’s direction came after the postmortem report revealed that the body of Ketan Patel, who was arrested for theft on June 3, bore more than 30 “superficial” injuries. Ketan’s death sparked off protests by Patidars with leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) threatening to launch a statewide agitation.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Wednesday held a series of meetings with Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja and senior officials of Home Department, following which the ministry directed the police to file the FIR based on the complaint lodged by Ketan’s family.
Ketan, who was lodged at Mehsana jail, died at Mehsana Civil Hospital after he reportedly complained about “fever and uneasiness”. Police had said that Ketan was arrested on June 3 in connection with a case of theft of Rs 9,500 from a shop of one Bharat Barot after which he was sent to judicial custody on June 4.
However, Ketan’s family members and Patidar community leaders alleged that he was illegally detained on June 1 and was shown arrested on June 3. They also alleged that Ketan had sustained injuries due to the torture inflicted by the police when he was in their custody before being sent to jail. On Tuesday, the family members and Patidar leaders refused to take Ketan’s body or allow post-mortem as they demanded that an FIR be first filed against the police officers for “custodial torture”.
Eventually, they agreed to allow postmortem on Wednesday. “The postmortem shows more than 30 superficial injuries on the body (of Ketan). The exact cause of death is not known and will be clear only after reports of viscera samples come in. We will register an FIR on the basis of a complaint by the family members of the deceased,” Mehsana Superintendent of Police Chaintanya Mandalik said.
Mandalik said that they were speaking with Ketan’s family and Patidar community leaders to take possession of the body as police will now register an FIR. Till the report was filed, the family had not taken possession of the body. A judicial inquiry by Chief Justicial Magistrate of Mehsana has already been initiated in the case.