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Dalit youth dies in police raid in Surat, locals allege murder

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Surat: A 25-year-old Dalit youth died under mysterious circumstances during a raid conducted on a gambling den by police in Dabholi area in Surat, sparking a backlash by locals who attacked a sub-inspector accusing him of “thrashing” the youth.

The incident occurred Sunday evening when sub-inspector NS Patel of Chowk Bazar police station conducted the raid on a tip-off that a gambling den is being operated from the locality.

Though locals alleged Mahendra Makwana died due to thrashing by police, Chowk Bazar police said maintained that he died of “epileptic seizure” which he suffered while fleeing the spot.

However, police on Monday registered an FIR against Patel on charges of murder and committing atrocities against Dalit.

“Based on a complaint filed by Makwana’s father Gamanbhai, we have lodged an FIR against Patel, who is receiving treatment in hospital. He is charged under section 302 of IPC (murder) and under various sections of Prevention of Atrocity Act,” said Police Station Officer of Chowk Bazar Ishwar Parmar.

Explaining Sunday’s turn of events, police inspector M R Nakum said Makwana fell unconscious while he was running away from police along with others, and later died in a hospital.

He said that an angry mob attacked Patel with sticks and other objects assuming that he had beaten Makwana to death.

Following the incident, police on Sunday filed an FIR against the mob for attacking Patel.

“When Patel reached the spot Sunday evening, some suspected persons, including Makwana, started running away to evade arrest. While escaping, Makwana fell down on the road following epileptic seizure and became unconscious. Though he was rushed to hospital, he subsequently died,” said Nakum.

“We have lodged a case of rioting and assault on police against the mob,” Nakum added.

However, locals as well as relatives of Makwana alleged that the youth died after he was “mercilessly beaten up by Patel during the raid”.

“Police are not telling the truth. Makwana was never into gambling. He was nabbed when he was passing from that road and mercilessly beaten up by Patel without any reason,” claimed a relative of Makwana.

Meanwhile, doctors at civic-run SMIMER Hospital who conducted Makwana’s autopsy, on Monday announced that they have found an injury mark on a leg of the deceased.

“We found minor injury mark on his leg. To find out exact reason of his death, we will consult pathology and microbiology department. We will also send his viscera samples for forensic examination,” said Dr Pranav Prajapati.

The incident came close on heels of widescale protests in many parts of Gujarat over flogging of few Dalit youths at Una in Gir-Somnath district earlier this month over skinning of a dead cow, allegedly by self-styled cow protection vigilantes.

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