Mundra custodial death: 26-year-old suspect ‘illegally confined, beaten up by cops’ in house break-in case dies

According to police, Harjog was a casual labourer from Samaghogha village in Mundra taluka of Kutch district. He was allegedly picked up by a team of Mundra police station on January 16 along with fellow villager Shamla Gadhvi.

Harjog Gadhvi (26), one of the three men who was allegedly illegally confined and beaten up by the Mundra police after being picked up as suspects in a house break-in case last month, died while undergoing treatment at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital late Saturday night, police said.

“Harjog Gadhvi died Saturday while undergoing treatment at the civil hospital in Ahmedabad. He was referred to Ahmedabad for treatment of injuries caused after being beaten by accused policemen of Mundra police station. A post mortem is due to be conducted today and we shall come to know the cause of his death once the report is available,” JN Panchal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) of Bhuj division of Kutch (west) police told The Indian Express.

According to police, Harjog was a casual labourer from Samaghogha village in Mundra taluka of Kutch district. He was allegedly picked up by a team of Mundra police station on January 16 along with fellow villager Shamla Gadhvi. He is the second person among the three men to have died allegedly due to the alleged police beating.

Earlier, Arjan Gadhvi (27), also a casual labourer from Samaghogha village who was picked up by Mundra police officials on January 12 in the same case, died on January 19 due to injuries he had sustained in the alleged torture inside the lock-up of the police station.

Initially, the police had claimed that Arjan had died of a heart attack. Leaders from the Gadhvi community, however, alleged that he was beaten to death and refused to claim his body from the Community Health Centre in Mundra. After the protests, Shaktisinh Gohil, Ashok Kannad and Jaydevsinh Jhala — three head constables attached to Mundra police station — were booked for Arjan’s murder and allegedly voluntarily causing hurt to Harjog and Shamla and confining them illegally. Harjog and Shamla were also rushed from Munda police station to GK General Hospital in Bhuj town, the district headquarters of Kutch district, on January 20 for treatment of injuries allegedly caused by police beating. Later, both of them were referred to the civil hospital in Ahmedabad on January 23.

“Shamla has since recovered from his injuries and was discharged from hospital around a week ago,” the DySP, who is investigating officer (IO) of the case, said.

While head constables Gohil, Kanad and Jhala are still on the run, J A Padhiyar then police inspector (PI) of Mundra, and head constable Viral Joshi attached to the Mundra police station were arrested by police on February 26 with the DySP saying the PI had “interrogated” the victims and the home guard had also beaten up the victims.

Padhiyar and Joshi are in judicial custody even as the IO said they are also looking for two other constables attached to Mundra police station, Kapil Desai and Gafurji Thakor, as well as Jayvirsinh Jadeja, the former sarpanch of Samaghogha village. “The former sarpanch had also beaten up the victims when the police took them to a farm in Samaghogha village allegedly for recovering muddamal of the house break-in case,” Panchal said.

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