Thangadh killings: Five Dalits sit on hunger strike

Demand arrest of cops involved in the September 22-23 firing

Demanding arrest of police officers involved in the police firing at Thangadh in which three dalits were killed, five people from the village on Monday sat on an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Surendranagar District Collector office.

Those staging the fast include parents of two of the victims.

The five are Manju Parmar, Valji Rathod, Jivabhai Chauhan, Kanabhai Parmar and Ashok Makwana. Manju is mother of Prakash and Valji is father of Mehul. Prakash and Mehul were killed in the police firing.

Police have registered a case of attempt to murder, rioting and other criminal charges against eight dalits, who are at present lodged in jail.

Following a public furore over the killings and alleged police atrocities, three separate FIRs were registered against police officers for murder but they have not been arrested so far. The accused police officers include police sub-inspector K P Jadeja.

Talking to The Indian Express from Surendranagar, Valji Rathod said, "Our demand is an immediate arrest of the accused police officers. We also demand that steps be taken against any senior police officer who is responsible for the firing. We do not have faith in Gujarat Police now, and so we also want a probe by CBI."

Dilip Chavda, a local lawyer who is helping the dalits, said they had gone to give a representation to the Collector.

"However, he was not present and so we will be meeting him tomorrow," Chavda said.

Recently, Gujarat CID (Crime), which is probing the case against the dalits, had proposed to drop attempt to murder charge against them. The CID (Crime) had found factual loopholes in the FIR lodged by PSI Jadeja and stated

that the the case did not attract charge of attempt to murder at all.

... contd.

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