Gujarat Congress seeks CBI probe to investigate death of Patidar youth, to hold state-wide protest

Ahmedabad: Seeking a CBI probe into the death of a Patidar man in Mehsana recently, Gujarat Congress on Sunday said it would hold state-wide protests on the issue on Monday, even as the state government alleged that the family of the deceased was being instigated by "some elements".

Ketan Patel, a 28-year-old man from Patidar community, died under mysterious circumstances in Mehsana last Monday during his judicial custody.

Representational image.  Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

A resident of Balol village near Mehsana, Ketan was in judicial custody at Mehsana Sub-Jail since 4 June in a theft case. He died at the civil hospital on the night of 5 June  within hours of admission. His family has alleged that he died due to custodial torture by police.

A Congress delegation led by state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, leader of opposition in Gujarat Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela and state party in-charge Ashok Gehlot, on Sunday met Gujarat governor OP Kohli at Gandhinagar and handed over a memorandum demanding a CBI inquiry into Ketan's death.

In the memorandum, the Congress urged the Governor to direct the BJP government in the state to suspend the policemen responsible for the death and hand over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"We have urged the Governor to direct the state government to lodge an FIR in the case based on the post mortem report. We also want the government to arrest and suspend those policemen who were behind this cold-blooded murder," Solanki told media persons here.

"We have no trust in the local police, as they have not taken any action even after one week has passed since Ketan's death. Therefore, we demand that the probe must be handed over to the CBI, so that the truth comes out," he added.

He added that Congress workers will stage protests across the state on Monday to highlight the issue and to mount pressure on the state government.

Though police denied it was a case of custodial death, local Patel leaders and Ketan's family members alleged that he died due to police torture when he was in their custody before being sent to jail by the court on June 4.

While Gehlot visited Mehsana and met Ketan's kin yesterday, Vaghela met them on Sunday at Mehsana civil hospital.

In an apparent attack on Congress, Gujarat Government on Sunday published an advertisement in all the leading newspapers about the entire issue and alleged that "some elements" were instigating Ketan's family and politicising the issue.

Listing the chronology of the events related to Ketan's death in the ads, the government appealed to his family members to come forward and lodge an FIR.

Few days back, Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel had said that despite the government's assurance of fair probe, no one from Ketan's family has come forward to lodge an FIR yet.

In his response, Solanki alleged that Nitin Patel was deliberately trying to portray Ketan as a thief by publishing such ads.

"Despite the fact that Nitin Patel is an MLA from Mehsana, neither he nor any other minister has visited Mehsana to console Ketan's family. Instead, the government is trying to portray Ketan as a thief by giving such ads. This is done at the behest of Nitin Patel," alleged Solanki.

Apart from Ketan's death, Congress would also highlight BJP chief Amit Shah's recent remarks dubbing Mahatma Gandhi as a "bahut chatur baniya" as well as farmers' plight during their protests on Monday.

"Tomorrow, our workers would stage protests on these three issues. Since farmers in Gujarat are also suffering a lot due to the government apathy, Congress would hold road-blockades across the state on 16 June," he added.

Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017 20:41 PM

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