Ahmedabad: An uneasy silence looms in Gujarat as Ahmedanad braces for the funeral of 32-year-old Shwetang Patel, who allegedly died in police custody during the Patel quota stir this week.
Shwetang , who was picked up by police during the agitation on Wednesday allegedly died in custody after being severely beaten up by the policemen.
In an unprecedented hearing at night, the Gujarat High Court yesterday allowed the administration to take appropriate action, including imposition of curfew, to maintain law and order on government's plea fearing violence at today's funeral of a 21-year-old man who was allegedly killed in police custody during the Patel quota agitation.
In a first, the High Court opened after 8.30 PM and a division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice M V Anjaria came to hear the application, moved by the state, yesterday night itself.
The HC also ordered immediate transfer out of city limits of those police officers who are allegedly involved in Swetang Patel's (21) death while observing that public at large may not feel apprehensive about any inaction on the part of the state.
The state and the police approached the HC after it yesterday directed the administration to lift curfew after assessing the situation on a PIL filed by one Prakash Kapadia. The high court had day before yesterday observed that restoration of peace should be high priority and that the police have transgressed the law by committing atrocities on people. Allowing the application of the state today, the bench said “it was left to the state to review the situation and to take appropriate measure in this regard.”
“Considering the importance of the matter for public at large and the urgency for the contemplated funeral procession, we have permitted the Advocate General on behalf of the state and police officials to move the present application,” the HC said explaining why it conducted special hearing yesterday night.
“It appears that the situation was reviewed and the curfew was lifted by the competent authorities to enable people to enjoy the festival of Raksha Bandhan, fortunately it is reported that no untoward incident has happened today. “However, apprehension has been voiced on behalf of the State that due to the contemplated funeral procession, there may be disturbances of law and order.
“The competent authority may be in a given case required to impose curfew or may limit the number of persons joining the funeral procession and may also be required to mark the route of the procession so as to reach cremation site in peaceful atmosphere,” the bench said.
The judges also emphasised that the state and the high-ranking officials shall ensure that limits of law are maintained by the police officials as well as the law and order situation is properly maintained.
The state had approached the HC stating that suitable order should be given to authorities so that they can take all necessary steps for maintaining law and order situation during the funeral procession of Swetang, like imposition of curfew, to determine the route of funeral procession and to restrict the number of persons joining the procession.
City Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha, JointCommissioners of Police Manoj Shashidharan and R R Bhagat, along with Superintendent of Police of Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Himanshu Shukla, were present in the court, besides Additional Chief Secretary (Home) P K Taneja. Swetang was allegedly forcibly taken away by police on August 25.
A plea was moved by Prabhaben Patel, Swetang's mother, which said he was allegedly beaten by the police and he succumbed to the injuries. The HC had ordered a second autopsy of the body, which stated that he died due to severe head injury.
Observing that prima facie it was a case of homicide, the HC had day before yesterday directed the administration to file an FIR and also ordered a CID probe.