Mehsana town and parts of the north Gujarat remained shut on Thursday after Patidar outfits called a bandh against the death of a Patidar youth, who died allegedly by police torture in custody. Apart from Mehsana, Unjha, Visnagar, Patan and Vijapur towns were affected by the bandh. There were also reports of arson and violence from the district.
While PAAS claimed that there were at least incidents of mobs torching private property and state roadways buses, Mehsana Superintendent of Police Chaitanya Mandalik said that one incident of arson was reported in the district. Unidentified persons torched a state transport bus near Visnagar town of Mehsana district, PTI quoted police as saying. “No one was hurt in the incident,” an official of Mehsana police control room said.
No FIR has yet been filed against police officers into the death of Ketan Patel, a day after the state government ordered the police to do so. Police insisted that they would register the FIR only after Ketan’s family or anyone from his community lodged a complaint with the police. The family and the community leaders, however, want the police to file the FIR suo motu based on the government’s directive.
“From today morning till now, the district police superintendent repeatedly went to Mehsana civil hospital and requested the relatives (of Ketan) to lodge a complaint, but nobody filed a complaint,” a statement released by the police read.
Ketan’s family, meanwhile, refused to claim his body. They have questioned the postmortem report that concluded more than 30 “superficial injuries” in Ketan’s body.
Police said that the supporters of the deceased who are camping at Mehsana civil hospital raised objection over the postmortem report. “We asked them to give their objection in writing, which they did not do,” the police release said.
Ketan’s father Mahendra Patel said that he will not claim his son’s body till the police does not lodge an FIR against policemen on the charges of murder of his son. “I will sit outside the hospital until the police lodge an FIR against policemen for murder and arrest those policemen who had tortured and killed my son.I will not claim the body till they are not arrested,” said Mahendra Patel.
Ketan, a resident of Balol village in Mehsana district, died at Mehsana Civil Hospital a day after he was sent to judicial custody in connection with a case of theft of Rs 9,500 from a shop. While police claimed that Ketan was arrested on June 3 and sent to jail the next day, his family alleged that Ketan was kept in illegal police custody for two days before he was shown as “arrested” by the police.