Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Congress is expected to hold a massive rally in Gandhinagar on Monday in protest against the deaths of three Dalit men who were killed in police firing in Thangadh, Surendranagar on September 22. The party has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killings.
Earlier, a CID probe had been ordered into the case and a police sub-inspector of Thangadh town suspended after clashes broke out between Dalits and Bharwad (shepherd) community members after the Tarnetar fair near the town. The members reportedly clashed over some issue after the fair concluded on the night of September 22. The Gujarat government also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation each to the family members of the deceased.
Four victims, including the three deceased - Pankaj Sumra, Prakash Parmar and Mehul Rathod - had sustained serious bullet injuries in firing by the police as it tried to disperse a violent mob. The clashes broke out when both the groups attacked each other with iron pipes and sticks. When the situation went out out control, PSI KP Jadeja ordered firing in which four persons were injured, police said. The police had initially resorted to lathicharge and then fired tear gas shells, said eyewitnesses.
When the violence continued, police fired in the air in which one Dalit died on the spot, while three others received injuries. The injured Dalits were rushed to Rajkot civil hospital, where two of them succumbed, they said. Irked by the incident, Dalit members refused to accept the bodies of the deceased.
When the situation turned tense, Gujarat's Minister for Social Justice Fakirbhai Vaghela and Minister for Education Ramanlal Vora rushed to the hospital and promised action against the police officials following which the Dalits accepted the body of the deceased this morning. In view of the violent clashes, security was stepped up in Thangadh town, said police.
(With additional information from PTI)