Last rites of 28-year-old Ketan Patel, whose death in judicial custody on June 5 triggered protests, were performed at Balol village near Mehsana today as his family members agreed to accept the mortal remains after initially refusing to do so demanding a CBI probe. Earlier, Ketan'a father Mahendra Patel had demanded the probe by the central agency and had threatened to sit on a 'dharna' (sit-in protest) outside Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar, beginning today, along with Ketan's body which had been lying at Mehsana civil hospital since June 5. However, other family members and Patidar leaders decided to call off that agitation and performed last rites after Mehendra's health deteriorated yesterday. A large number of locals, members of Patidar community and several political leaders joined the funeral procession, which started from Mehsana civil hospital in morning and ended at Balol village in afternoon. On June 13, Mehsana police arrested three persons, including a head constable, on the charges of murder and kidnapping after registering an FIR based on Mahendra's complaint. Ketan, a resident of Balol village, was in judicial custody at Mehsana Sub-Jail since June 4 in a theft case registered against him by Mehsana taluka police. He died at the civil hospital on the night of June 5 within hours of admission. As per the tentative postmortem conducted on June 7, there were at least 39 injury marks on Ketan's body. A fresh autopsy was conducted at Mehsana civil hospital on June 9 on the directions of the chief judicial magistrate as Ketan's kin were not satisfied with the first postmortem. A 'bandh' was observed in several parts of north Gujarat, including in Mehsana, over Ketan's death on June 8. According to police, Ketan was arrested on June 3 after a shop owner in Balol village lodged a complaint stating that he stole around Rs 5,000 from his shop. 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.
Guj: Patel man who died in judicial custody cremated
Press Trust of India |