Violence rocked the tribal Chilakota village of Dahod’s Garbada taluka on Thursday after a local resident died following his interrogation by the police during which he was allegedly severely beaten up. Angry villagers demanding that the police be booked for murder attacked the local police station and set vehicles on fire. To quell the crowd, police opened fire in the evening in which a farmer was killed by a bullet that hit him in the head. This heightened tension late tonight in the region, a day after elections were announced in the state.
Sources said that officials of the Local Crime Branch picked up Kanesh Gamara, 31, around 1.30 am on Thursday to question him about his brother who was reportedly wanted in a dacoity case. Gamara was picked up with another person and then released around 3 am. Within an hour, he was dead. The villagers took his body in a tempo around 7 am to the Jesawada police station demanding that the policemen involved in his interrogation be booked for murder.
When the police said they would register a case of accidental death, villagers stoned the police station and set official vehicles on fire. The police lobbed eight teargas shells to disperse the angry mob and then opened fire in which three persons were injured. Ramsu Mohaniya, 45, the farmer from Amli village who died in the firing is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters. His cousin Ratan Mohaniya told The Indian Express that Ramsu had gone to buy vegetables to Jesawada when he came in the line of police fire.
His admission record in the general hospital at Dahod, accessed by The Indian Express, says: “Ramsu Jokhlabhai Mohaniya. Hit by bullet in the head. Brought dead”. Police officials said that “seven to eight” policemen were injured in stone-pelting by villagers. Another villager Kanu Bhuriya was injured in the head and referred to Vadodara civil hospital for further treatment, said an official at the Dahod general hospital. Speaking to The Indian Express, Bhuriya said: “The police hired my vehicle (a tempo) and I got a call to come to the Jesawada police station. When I came here and parked my vehicle, something hit me near the eye”. He had a swollen right eye and a bandage on his right arm.
Dahod Deputy Superintendent of Police Tejas Patel told The Indian Express: “We had taken Gamara in for questioning about his brother who is underground in a dacoity case and released him the same day. This morning, Gamara’s relatives approached the police to lodge a complaint and when police were in the process of registering the complaint, around 500 people gathered at the police station and started pelting stones. The crowd also burnt and damaged police vehicles.”
Asked how many rounds were fired, he said: “The investigation is on”. Said Mohan Tadvi, a resident of Jesawada village and an eyewitness: “LCB police officers came to investigate, they picked up two persons and thrashed them. Later in the morning one of them died and when we went to police station to register a complaint against the police officers. They refused and said they would only register a case of accidental death.”