3 cops held for Dalit deaths in Thangadh police firing

The CID (crime) of Gujarat Police Saturday arrested a police sub-inspector and two other policemen on murder charges in connection with the police firing at Thangadh in Surendranagar on September 22 in which three Dalits were killed.

Sub-inspector Kuldipsinh P Jadeja, constable Yogesh Gadhvi and assistant sub-inspector Nathubha Andubha were arrested for firing on a group of Dalits, killing three, including a minor, confirmed Inspector General of Police (CID crime) Anil Pratham.

The police firing took place after group clashes between Dalit and Bharwad communities in Thangadh on the issue of setting up stalls at a famous fair.

The police had claimed the mob of Dalits ran riot, forcing them to lob teargas shells and fire in the air.

The FIR against the policemen, filed after protest from Dalit activists, had also booked them under the anti-atrocity law.

The then police sub-inspector of Thangadh police station, K P Jadeja, had subsequently lodged an FIR against eight Dalits accusing them of criminal offences, including attempt to murder.

According to Jadeja's complaint, many policemen were seriously injured in the rioting by Dalits.

After the FIR, eight Dalits were jailed before the CID (crime) took charge of the case and dropped the charge of attempt to murder slapped on them. The CID probe also revealed that the accused policemen had used AK-47 to fire on Dalits, which was first reported by this newspaper.

The police affidavit, submitted by Superintendent of Police R S Bhagora, had said that the weapons used included "revolver, (.303) rifle, carbine gun and AK-47".

The affidavit, dated November 6, had opposed the anticipatory bail petition of Jadeja and noted that the motive behind the police firing was "hatred" and "prejudice" against Dalits.

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