Saturday, April 04, 2015

Circles close to Gujarat minister responsible for Dalit woman official's murder: Human rights lawyer

Chudasma
By Our Representative
In a fresh twist to the gruesome event which led to the murder of a Dalit woman in the vicinity of the region which is being strongly touted as one the pioneers of the 100-odd smart cities proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior Gujarat activist has blamed "circles" close to a senior minister of the Gujarat Cabinet for the tragedy.
The activist, Jignesh Mevani, who belongs to the well-known civil rights organization, Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) -- founded by late High Court advocate Mukul Sinha -- has named Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, representing Dholka in the Gujarat state assembly, and is very close to Dholera, where the new smart city has been proposed. Chudasma is state education minister in the Gujarat Cabinet, and has been a long-time Modi protege.
Without identifying these circles or naming them, the activist-advocate, Jignesh Mevani,  has alleged in his in-depth article that those who killed the woman, Pravina Chavda, have "homely relations" with the minister. The article, forwarded to Counterview by Mevani before it is printed in a Dalit periodical, "Dalit Adhikar", doesn't however say if Chudasma was involved.
Pravina, an ex-government official who has worked with two chief ministers in late 1990s, Shankarisnh Vaghela and Dilip Parikh, was returning home after appearing in the Gujarat High Court on February 27 in a case involving the murder of her brother, Vijay Chavda, which took place about two years ago following alleged efforts to grab his land. 
"Pravina had frequently demanded police protection, had written several times to officials that she had been receiving threats to her life, had demanded a licensed revolver for her personal safety, yet, in a preplanned operation, on February 27, she was kidnapped near Loliya village and murdered. Thrown from a vehicle on the Bagodra-Bawla highway, she was run over by a truck", Mevani said.
Quoting friends of Vijay, who was a writer in Amraiwadi police station in Ahmedabad, Mevani said, three of them -- Ashok Samrat, Mahesh Parmar and Shailesh Maurya -- visited Loliya after the event, and found that two individuals, Bhima Bharwad and Kuldip Bharwad, had taken upon themselves for being cause of the death. 
According to the activist , "However, we know that these persons have been asked to pose and take responsibility. The real culprits are heavy weights of the region. The body was thrown away on the Bagodra-Bavla highway near Rohika village to make it appear as an accident."
Mevani said, it was only after the relatives refused to accept Pravina's body for four days that the Gujarat government ageed to hand over the case to CID (crime). "The body was first seen on the highway by Gujarat DGP PC Thakur, who was passing that way", said Mevani, adding, "This prompted him ask DSP Nilaprit Rai to immediately rush on the spot."
Mevani pointed out, "A case was already on against the two persons who have accepted their responsibility for Pravina's death. They were already on parole. It is well known that minister Chudasma was felicitated in their village by the two after his victory in the last polls in 2012."
Quoting a complaint by Vijay's friend Jayanti Rathod to Ahmedabad police chief Gagandeep Gambhir, Mevani said, Pravina's brother Vijay's murder took place following efforts to "grab" his land. The region has become extremely lucrative following the proposed smart city around Dholera. 
"Ahead of the murder, Vijay had complained to everyone possible against the threats he was receiving to hand over the land, but he was done to death in the wee hours on his way to the farm. After Vijay's murder, Pravina began getting threats not to pursue her brother's case. One should know what would be ordinary Dalit woman's plight if a woman who has worked with two chief ministers is murdered like this", Mevani concluded.

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