Witness in Dalit man’s murder killed
RAJKOT: A key witness in the murder of a Dalit man in 2019 succumbed in Bhavnagar’s Sir T Hospital on Thursday night, nine days after being brutally attacked with iron pipes by six people of a family near Botad town.
Rajesh Makwana (46), who was a witness to the murder of Manji Solanki four years ago, was attacked when he was returning to his native Bagad village from Botad on September 6. It is believed that Makwana was attacked by the six who harboured a bitter grudge against him for giving a clinching testimony during the trial in Solanki’s case. Makwana’s death sparked a furore among the Dalit community whose members gathered at the Sir T Hospital in large numbers with the family demanding the chief minister and state home minister personally visit and assure them of justice. They have refused to accept the body for cremation.
Tension was also brewing in parts of Ranpur taluka in the Botad district, and additional police force was deployed to avert any escalation.
Makwana had lodged a complaint with the Ranpur police from the hospital bed. Following his death, three brothers, Haresh Khachar (32), Kishore (33) and Raghu (30), who were arrested after the September 6 assault, were booked for murder. Their father Dhiru and three others are yet to be arrested. In his complaint, he had alleged that the assailants were furious as she was a witness in Solanki’s murder.
However, police said those arrested for the 2019 murder and Khachars are not directly related. “We are investigating personal enmity angles too in Makwana’s murder,” said cops. Some eight people arrested for killing Solanki are out on bail but prohibited from entering Botad district. The Dalit community forwarded the list of 14 demands to the government saying that they wouldn’t accept the body unless these were met. The demands include a government job of one person each from Solanki and Makwana’s families, government accommodation, and suspension of the Botad district SP for negligence.
Natwar Makwana, deceased’s brother, said, “Rajesh had given detailed testimony in the court during the trial of Solanki’s murder. The accused feared they would be convicted, and they killed him.”
Courtesy : TOI
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