As migrants in Gujarat continue to be gripped by fear amidst a series of attacks on them, a labour contractor from Bihar, who was found injured on the roadside, was later declared dead on arrival in Althan area of Surat. While police claim Amarjeet Singh, 32, died in an accident after his motorbike hit a tree, his family say he was attacked.
Singh, a labour contractor at Bhavin Dyeing and Printing mill in Pandesara area, hails from Koudia village in Gaya and had been living in Surat for the last 15 years. Police say he was found lying injured on the roadside around midnight Friday by some youths returning from a garba event who took him to a private hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Singh, a resident of Sitanagar society in Pandesara, left his house on Friday night, telling his wife Anju that he was going out with a friend for some work and that he would return soon. Police officials say the “accident” happened when Singh was on his way back home “after dropping his friend”. “The bike was overspeeding, Amarjeet lost control, hit the road divider and then a tree,” a police official said.
Talking to the Indian Express Kamal Patel, one of the five youths who, the police say, found an injured Singh on the road, told The Sunday Express, “Seeing him injured, we searched for his mobile phone, but couldn’t find it. We took out his wallet and found his Aadhaar card and got his identity details and address. I also got a mobile number from his wallet which was of his friend Deepak Sharma and informed him about the accident and that we were taking him to the nearby First Care hospital in Althan area.
Singh’s cousin Deepak Singh told The Indian Express: “Amarjeet’s younger brother Rakesh Singh, who also works in Surat, called us to say that Amarjeet had been attacked when he was returning home on his bike. He was stopped by some 10 people and one of them reportedly hit him on head from behind. He succumbed to head injuries at hospital”.
Deepak Sharma told The Sunday Express, “We want to know why the police insisted on treating this case as that of accidental death. Amarjeet received a call on his mobile phone and he immediately left the house. We don’t know where he had gone. We will consult our family members and will later decide our future course of action, but we don’t believe the police theory. Police should take out his call details.”
Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma, who reached the spot, dismissed the family’s suspicion of foul play. “On the basis of our spot visit, we can say that it is a clear-cut case of over-speeding that led to the incident. We are also searching for his missing mobile phone,” Sharma said.
Gujarat has been witnessing series of attacks on migrants since the rape of a 14-month old, allegedly by a 19-year old youth from Bihar, on September 28. The most affected districts so far have been Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar and Vadodara. However, since the beginning of this week, attacks were also reported in Surat, which has the highest density of migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.