Gujarat cops used AK-47 on Dalits, says top officer

The Gujarat Police used an AK-47 assault rifle among other weapons during a protest by some Dalits in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district on September 22-23, according to a police affidavit submitted to a court. Three Dalits, including two 17-year-olds, were killed in the incident.

The affidavit, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, says that the weapons used included "revolver, (.303) rifle, carbine gun and AK-47". Superintendent of Police R S Bhagora submitted the affidavit while opposing the anticipatory bail petition of one of the four accused police officers in the case, Kuldipsinh Jadeja. All the accused are absconding.

The affidavit, dated November 6, says the motive behind the police firing was "hatred" and "prejudice" against Dalits. It adds that the weapons have been recovered and sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for evidence.

Confirming this, IGP, CID (crime), Anil Pratham, who is supervising the probe, told The Indian Express: "We have sent the recovered weapons to FSL to ascertain if they were fired from or not and if so, how many shots were fired... We cannot say right now if the AK-47s were fired from or not till the FSL reports come in." While he declined to say how many AK-47s had been sent, he admitted that there was more than one.

DGP Chitranjan Singh confirmed the use of at least one AK-47 in the incident. "The commando of SP Harikrishna Patel fired from his AK-47, probably some eight or nine rounds," he told The Indian Express.

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