VIOLENCE BROKE out in Surendranagar town hours after Indrasinhji Zala, the former president of Dhrangadhra municipality and who was associated with the BJP, was allegedly hacked to death by a group of 15 men near Dhrangadhra late on Friday evening. The police suspect this to be an incident of “revenge killing”.
Indrasinhji and his family were attacked at Haripar junction on state Highway 17, while they were on their way back home from a family vacation in Undaipur. Police said that the accused overtook Indrasinhji’s car and forced him to halt his car at the Haripur junction. The accused then dragged Indrasinji out of his car and then beat him up with scythes. After mortally wounding 50-year-old Indrasinhji, the attackers also beating up some of his family members, before speeding away in their vehicle.
Indrasinhji was rushed to a hospital in Dhrangadhra, but later he died of his wounds.
The violence broke out in the streets of Surendranagar town, the district headquarters, at around 1 am on Saturday after Indrasinji’s body was shifted to government-run Gandhi Hospital for post-mortem. Mobs torched some vehicles parked on the road near the hospital, vandalised other vehicles and also set fire to around a dozen cabins.
The police resorted to lathicharge and managed to disperse the rioters after some time.
Later on Saturday morning, Indrasinhji’ funeral was taken out in Dhrangadhra amid tight security. Police were deployed in sensitive areas of Dhranagadhra town and Surendranagar on Saturday and no other incident was reported till late evening.
Indrasinji’s younger brother Ajitsinh filed his complaint at the Dhranagadhra taluka police station, and also named the 15 persons who attacked his brother. In his complaint, he stated that accused attacked his brother due to disputes which were ongoing since one Popat Bharwad was allegedly clubbed to death in Dhrangadhra, in 2012.
Based on the complaint, Dhrangadhra taluka police booked the 15 for murder, attempt to murder and rioting. Police said that Ajitsinh was travelling in the car which was attacked.
“The names of the accused suggest that this is a case of vendetta killing. Indrasinji was an accused in the murder of Popat Bharwad and prima facie it seems the rival group attacked him to exact revenge. Indrasinhji’s other family members were also in the car but the manner of the attack suggests that only he was the target. His family members sustained minor injuries it the attack,” Deepak Meghani, superintendent of police of Surendranagar told The Indian Express on Saturday.
Bharwad was allegedly clubbed to death near Shakti Gate police post in Dhrangadhra town in 2012. Police had arrested Indrasinh, his brother Dilipsinh, nephew Mahavirsinh and one Paresh Rabari for the murder. Since then, the BJP politician was lodged in Dhranagadhra sub-jail as an under-trial prisoner.
Police said that Indrasinh had got interim bail around 10 days ago and that it was to end on Monday.
Indrasinhji was a native of Kondh village of Dhrangadhra taluka and was elected president of Dhrangadhra municipality around 15 years ago. Sources said that he and Bharwad had a dispute over land leading to the murder of the latter in 2012.
The Superintendent of Police said that one person had been apprehended in connection with the murder and that situation was under control. “We have deployed police in pockets of Dhrangadhra town and also in Surendranagar. Intense patrolling with videographers is going on. Executive magistrates are also visiting areas to keep the situation under control,” said Meghani.
Meanwhile, B division police in Surendrangar town said that they were in the process of registering cases in connection with the violence in the wee hours of the day. “Two-three persons have approached us with complaints of damage to their property and we are in the process of registering FIRs. The situation is normal now,” said B division police-sub inspector VC Vaghela.