The final rites of Shwetang Patel, the 32-year-old from the Patidar community who allegedly died in police custody after being picked up from his housing society during the reservation violence on Wednesday, were performed amid heavy security on Sunday.
Though thousands of people joined the funeral procession, they heeded to the appeal for peace made by community elders and desisted from any violence.
Prabhaben Patel, Shwetang’s mother, claimed his body from the civil hospital morgue late on Saturday night and on the police’s request, agreed to perform the cremation early in the morning to avoid a big congregation.
This was in the background of intelligence inputs received by the police that over one lakh people were likely to attend the funeral.
In fact, anticipating violence during the procession, the city police moved the high court late on Wednesday night and obtained permission to clamp curfew if required.
Several well-known politicians from the community, including former home minister Govardhan Zadafia, BJP MLA Vallav Kakadia and president of the Maldhari Sanghatan, Najibhai Desai, joined the procession.
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, whose presence was not confirmed till Saturday night, did not turn up as he left for New Delhi early on Sunday morning.
All shops and business establishments in the busy Bapunagar area remained shut till early afternoon in anticipation of violence. However, the curfew was lifted from the rest of the city on Saturday.
A tearful Prabhaben demanded stern action against the policemen responsible for her only son’s death.
“We want justice. We have faith in the high court. Let those who killed my son be dismissed from service and sentenced to life imprisonment,” she added.
She also alleged that the Bapunagar police, which refused to register the FIR till 5 am on Saturday despite the court’s order to register it immediately, did not include the names of policemen she had mentioned in her complaint. “We will soon move the high court again demanding inclusion of all those names in the FIR,” she said.
Lawyer Rohit Patel, who appeared for Prabhaben’s petition in the high court, said he would soon be filing a petition in the high court for investigation into the death of another community boy, Nimesh Patel, who died after he was allegedly beaten up by the police during the Patidar agitation on Wednesday.
Action against accused policemen
Police inspectors PD Parmar and RR Vasava of the Bapunagar police station, whose suspected role in the custodial death of Shwetang Patel is being probed by the CID (crime), were shunted to Rajkot and Baroda respectively on Sunday.
A senior official from the Ahmedabad police said the administrative decision on the direction of the Gujarat HC was taken to ensure fairness in the probe. Statements of four witnesses have been recorded in connection with the case.
A progress report will be submitted in the HC on Monday.