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Gujarat: No arrest a month after 4 cops booked for ‘murder’ of 2 tribal men in custody

According to Navsari police, the accused policemen are absconding as being cops, “they are more alert then common people”.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: August 22, 2021 10:55:30 pm
Initially, an accidental death report was filed.

Almost a month after four policemen of Chikhli police station in Navsari were booked for the alleged murder of two tribal youths under detention, no arrest has been made even as MLA Chhotu Vasava on Sunday accused the government of shielding those who commit atrocities on tribals.

According to Navsari police, the accused policemen are absconding as being cops, “they are more alert then common people”.

On July 20, Ravi Jadav (19) and Sunil Pawar (19) — residents of Vaghai taluka of tribal district Dang were detained at the Chikhli police station on suspicion of motorcycle theft. On July 21 around 8 am, police claimed that the two youths were “found” hanging from an electric cable attached to a computer system in the computer room of the police station.

Initially, an accidental death report was filed. However, following outrage by tribal community leaders over suspicion of custodial torture, a forensic postmortem was carried out and on July 28, four policemen were booked under Indian Penal Code section 302 for murder and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The four accused policemen — inspector Ajitsinh Zala, sub-inspector MB Kokni, head constable Shantisinh Zala and Constable Ramji Yadav are still absconding, almost a month after the FIR was lodged.

On Sunday, MLA Chhotu Vasava tweeted, “Even after lodging of FIR, if there is no arrest then it points towards major corruption. It feels like the judicial system is trying to save the perpetrators. #justiceforsunilravi (sic).”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Vasava said, “We have written to the collector and deputy superintendent of police of Navsari demanding immediate arrest of the accused policemen. This government is not for adivasi (tribal) people. It uses the police to scare adivasis so that tomorrow nobody from among us dares to come forward… In this case, at least an FIR was lodged but in many cases, police don’t even register our complaints. This government is protecting those who commit atrocities against us.”

Pointing out that investigation is going on, Rushikesh Upadhyay, superintendent of police (SP) Navsari, told The Indian Express, “The phones of four accused cops and their family members are under surveillance. We are also keeping a watch on their residences in Navsari and their native places along with those of their relatives. Since they are policemen, they are more alert than the common people and have evaded arrest.”

“There has been no laxity on behalf of police just because the accused are policemen. Apart from police investigation, a judicial inquiry is also going on by Chikhli sessions court judge. We have also sent the forensic postmortem report and inquest report to the National Human Rights Commission in Delhi. So multiple agencies are working on this case and there has been no laxity so far,” the SP added.

About the forensic postmortem report, Upadhyay said, “It was carried out by a panel of seven doctors and the initial report has not shown any marks of torture… the death was due to hanging. The detailed FSL report will come out in three months.”

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