Saturday, November 10, 2012

Police 'beat up' dalits, Rajkot top cop, home secretary get HC notice

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Aug 10 2012, 04:59 hrs
Taking suo motu cognisance of alleged atrocities committed on dalits by Rajkot city police, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued notices to the state home secretary and Rajkot police commissioner.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala were acting on a letter from a dalit organisation about the alleged incident that took place on June 25 this year.
According to details, a dalit leader from Rajkot, Gunvant Rathod, was killed by some miscreants on June 24. The next day, a funeral procession was taken out by dalits before Rathod's body was cremated. After the cremation, some in the funeral procession staged a protest demanding that the culprits be arrested.
According to the complaint letter to HC, police indiscriminately beat up the protesters without any provocation. Police also allegedly entered the houses of dalits in Ambedkarnagar area and mercilessly thrashed them. Those beaten up included children and women. One of the injured, Rupa Sondarava (16), was allegedly kicked by police following which she sustained a serious spinal injury that is threatening to cause permanent disability. Rupa was shifted from Rajkot to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital where hospital authorities registered a medico-legal case and informed Rajkot police about the same. The police, however, allegedly did not register her statement.
Following this, Dr Jayanti Mankadiya, president of Gujarat Dalit Sangathan, and others wrote to the Chief Justice about the incident and sought his intervention. They also sent photographs and a video CD purportedly showing police action.
Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya referred Mankadiya's letter to Justice Akil Kureshi seeking his opinion if it was a fit case to take suo motu conginsance of. Justice Kureshi agreed it was and a senior advocate of HC, Shalin Mehta, was appointed as amicus curaie.
The suo motu proceeding seeks strict action against the erring police officers and registration of a case against them under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The next hearing is scheduled after two weeks.