A 60-year-old tribal, who was arrested under the new cow protection law for allegedly slaughtering a bullock, died in police custody in Sabarkantha district. Police on Friday registered a case of accidental death in this connection and initiated a judicial inquiry, even as family of the man reportedly alleged custodial torture.
Kodar Gamar, a resident of Kotda village in Khedbrahma taluka of Sabarkantha district, was arrested Thursday after a complaint under the recently amended Act against cow slaughter was filed against him at Kheroj police station. It was the first FIR in the district under the new Act.
According to Kheroj police, Gamar, who was in the lockup, complaint of uneasiness because of hot weather and sought to take a bath.
Sabarkantha Range IG R B Brahmbhatt said, “The CCTV camera footage shows that he began to vomit after coming out of the bathroom, and soon collapsed. He was rushed to a nearby government clinic and then to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, but died probably of brain haemorrhage.”
“The post-mortem has been conducted, and since it is a case of custodial death, a judicial inquiry has also been initiated as per statutory provisions,” Brahmbhatt said. He claimed that no one from Gamar’s family has complained of death due to custodial torture.
Gamar’s family members could not be contacted, but local Congress MLA Ashwin Kotwal said, “Some of Gamar’s relatives had complained to me that he
died because of custodial torture. So, I have asked authorities to do a thorough investigation into the matter and a proper post-mortem of the body. If the post-mortem report shows custodial torture then an offence should be registered against the concerned police officers.”
According to police, while investigating the complaint of the killing of a bullock, they received a tip-off and recovered a mutilated carcass of the animal from a place known as Virafali in Kotda village. As per the FIR, policemen arrested one Lebabhai Bhanbhi from the spot whereas, four others managed to escape. Subsequently, two more persons, including Gamar, were arrested in the case and remanded in police custody by a local court.
They were booked under the recently amended Gujarat Animal Preservation Act (GAPA) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The maximum punishment for the offence under the cow slaughter prevention Act is life imprisonment.