A 65-year-old man died near a grocery shop in Dhar district on Saturday, with the family alleging he was beaten to death by the police for violating the lockdown order. The police, on the other hand, attributed his death to a heart attack. Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath has demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident.
A resident of Gothnia village in Khargone district, the 65-year-old had gone to Gujari village in neighbouring Dhar district to buy groceries in the morning with his son-in-law Sanjay. There were other people in the market when the police came in vehicles.
Sanjay said the people ran at the sight of police who came in vehicles. He said he sustained injuries in his leg but did not see how his father-in-law being beaten because he was running away. However, some other villagers claimed they saw two police officials, including a sub-divisional police officer and an inspector, beat up the old man.
Citing the postmortem report, Superintendent of police, Dhar, Aditya Pratap Singh said the man died of heart attack. He said locals had opened some grocery shops despite administration imposing a lockdown, adding that when the police vehicles reached people panicked and tried to run away.
He said the deceased ran away but returned later to collect a bag he had left behind and collapsed. He denied the allegation that the police beat him. Singh said the locals gave statements to the police that he was not beaten up and shared with this paper videos of eyewitnesses in support.
Meanwhile, Madhuri of Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan has demanded a second postmortem by a medical board. She accused the police of beating up the man and suppressing information.
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