Cremation of Shwetang held peacefully amid tight security and army deployment in Gujarat

Cremation of Shwetang held peacefully amid tight security and army deployment in Gujarat

article_55844283Ahmedabad, Aug 30- The last rites of the thirty-two-year-old Shwetang Patel, a local youth of politically strong Patidar community, who had died in police custody, was held at Leelanagar crematorium in Bapunagar amid heavy security deployment today. Tight security arrangements have been made in the wake of Gujarat High Court directing the state government to ensure law and order, after it had heard a petition filed by Patel's mother last night. Patel's mother in her petition alleged that her son was beaten by police and he later succumbed to injuries, Two Companies of army have been deployed at the crematorium owing to fear of violence breaking again. However, there was no curfew in the area. The Youth was killed after police had taken him into their custody during the recent state-wide violent reservation quota stir of Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS). The emotional funeral procession began from Matrushakti society residence of Shwetang in Bapunagar when his mother Prabhabhen also participated in the ritual by giving shoulder to the arthi (the bamboo made bed to carry the body) of his only son. Normally a woman doesn't perform this last rites ritual of the Hindus. Later, in another unusual but emotional step, Shwetang's sister Palak performed other last rites and also gave mukhagni (the holy fire put in the mouth of the dead to begin the cremation) to his slain brother. Shwetang's father, a former mill worker, is almost bed ridden with paralysis for quite sometime. On his mother's plea claiming police excess to be the reason behind her son's death, the court had ordered a second autopsy of his body to ascertain it. The second post-mortem revealed that he died owing to shock and brain haemorrhage. Police had arrested Patel in the late night on August 25 when the violence first erupted. Earlier, Para military forces including the Rapid Action Force were deployed in and around Bapunagar in large numbers to prevent any untoward incidents. 'We had also deployed two companies of the army in Bapunagar and Vastral areas,' Police commissioner Shivanand Jha told UNI adding that no curfew was however imposed. The whole funeral procession route from Bapunagar to Leelanagar was virtually cordoned off by the para military forces. The Gujarat High Court in an unprecedented move had taken up hearing last night though being a holiday to issue directives for security arrangements for the funeral. The court has also appealed the people to maintain peace. Meanwhile the crowd in the funeral procession was in much less strength than the earlier apprehension of over one lakh which might have re-triggered violence. The police and the state authority has heaved a sigh of relief with the peaceful passing of last rites. Around 10 people died in the violence that erupted in the night of August 25 following the brief detention of PAAS leaders when they were holding a dharna in the GMDC ground in the city after a massive rally during the day demanding OBC quota for the politically strong Patel (Patidar) community in the state for reservation benefits. Bapunagar was also one of the nine localities of Ahmedabad where curfew was imposed after the outset of the violence. Curfew was lifted in Bapunagar yesterday. PAAS leader Hardik Patel, the main face behind the agitation, had alleged that police had dealt badly with his supporters and targetted them. Some of his outfit members also met State Minister Nitin Patel, who heads the seven ministers committee to hold talks with the outfits organising pro-reservation demonstrations yesterday and putforth their five point demands including compensation to the families of those killed during violence and action against police. After strictures from High Court bench led by Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel last night, the Police Inspector of Bapunagar P D Parmar was transferred to Rajkot and the second Police Inspector R R Vasava was relieved for Vadodara for their irresponsible conduct during the violence. Hardik Patel went to New Delhi this morning to meet the leaders of Gujjar, Jat communities and various outfits to garner support for his quota agitation. The outfit has announced to start the second round of the stir from Surat tomorrow. Patel is scheduled to hold a press conference in the Press Club.

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