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Friday, February 26, 2021

Gujarat: Second death in Mundra ‘custodial beating’ case

Harjog and Shamla were rushed to GK General Hospital in Bhuj town, the district headquarters of Kutch district, on January 20. Later, on January 23, they were referred to the civil hospital in Ahmedabad.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: February 7, 2021 6:00:07 pm
The police confirmed the death on Sunday, identifying the deceased as Harjog Gadhvi. He is the second suspect to have succumbed to his injuries in the alleged custodial assault. (Representational)

One of the three men allegedly picked up by the police as suspects in a house break-in case last month and beaten in custody died at the Ahmedabad civil hospital. The police confirmed the death on Sunday, identifying the deceased as Harjog Gadhvi. He is the second suspect to have succumbed to his injuries in the alleged custodial assault.

“Harjog died yesterday (Saturday) while undergoing treatment at the civil hospital in Ahmedabad. He was referred to the city hospital for treatment of injuries that he sustained after being beaten by the accused personnel of Mundra police station. A post-mortem examination, which will help us ascertain the cause of death, is due to be conducted today,” JN Panchal, DSP, Bhuj division of Kutch (west) police, told The Indian Express.

Harjog, a labourer from Samaghogha village, was allegedly picked up, along with fellow local Shamla Gadhvi by a team from Mundra police station, on January 16. Four days prior, on January 12, another suspect named Arjan was similarly picked up in connection with the same case.

Arjan, also a labourer, died on January 19. Police initially claimed that he had died after a heart attack but leaders of the Gadhvi community refused to take custody of his mortal remains at the Community Health Centre in Mundra, alleging that he was beaten to death in custody. As protests grew, Shaktisinh Gohil, Ashok Kannad and Jaydevsinh Jhala —three head constables posted at Mundra police station—were charged with Arjan’s murder and voluntarily causing hurt to Harjog and Shamla. They were also accused of illegal confinement.

Harjog and Shamla were rushed to GK General Hospital in Bhuj town, the district headquarters of Kutch district, on January 20. Later, on January 23, they were referred to the civil hospital in Ahmedabad.

“Shamla recovered from his injuries and was discharged about a week ago,” said the DSP, who is the investigating officer in the case.

While the three accused head constables are on the run, JA Padhiyar, a serving inspector at Mundra police station, and Viral Joshi, another head constable, were arrested in connection with the alleged custodial beating on January 26. Padhiyar and Joshi are currently in judicial custody.

The DSP said that a search is also underway for Kapil Desai and Gafurji Thakor, two other constables attached to Mundra police station, as well as Jayvirsinh Jadeja, a former sarpanch of Samaghogha village, in connection with the incident. “The former sarpanch had also beaten up the victims after the police took them to a farm in Samaghogha village purportedly to recover the muddamal (items stolen) in the house break-in,” the DSP said.

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