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Police firing victim's father enters poll fray in Gandhinagar


Ahmedabad: The father of a Dalit youth killed in police firing at Thangadh in Gujarat in 2012, has filed his nomination from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, where BJP chief Amit Shah is in the fray.

Velji Rathod, father of Mehul Rathod, one of the three youths killed in police firing in Thangadh village in Surendranagar district, Friday said by contesting the election against Shah, he wants to send out a message that the BJP-led government has delayed justice to the victims' families.

Rathod filed his nomination as an independent candidate on Thursday.

Three Dalit youths - Pankaj Sumra, Prakash Parmar and Mehul Rathod - were killed on the intervening night of September 22 and 23, 2012, when police opened fire to control the clashing members of Dalit and OBC Bharwad communities.

The state government had ordered a probe into the incident and a report had been submitted by the then principal secretary of social justice and empowerment department, Sanjay Prasad. However, the report has not been made public so far.

"We have been fighting for the last six years to seek justice for my son and two other victims of police excesses, but till date the culprits have not been punished. No charge sheet has been filed against the accused police officers," Rathod said.

He said his decision to contest election against Shah from Gandhinagar seat was a deliberate one.

"I want to send out a message of how the government led by his (Shah's) party delayed justice to the families of the victims of the government excesses," Rathod said.

"We had held a dharna in Gandhinagar and tried to press for our demand for justice, but the BJP government turned a deaf ear. I visited members of Dalit communities in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency and sought their opinion whether I should contest the election. As most of them agreed, I jumped into the fray," he said.

According to Rathod, Dalit leader and independent MLA Jignesh Mevani has extended his support to him and agreed to campaign for him.

"I talked to Mevani, who said he is currently campaigning outside the state. But he has agreed to campaign for me when he comes back," he said.

Despite demands from the opposition Congress, the government has so far not tabled the report in the state Assembly.

Four police officials were accused of firing that led to the killing. However, the CID, which probed the case, had filed a 'C-summary' report, closing the case without any conclusion.

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