Shimla: Kedar Singh Jindan, a ST/SC leader who was allegedly hacked to death in Bakras village of Shillai in Sirmaur district on Friday, was cremated on Sunday in his native village Paab under heavy police security.
The local police had arrested two people including the up-pradhan of the panchayat Jai Prakash for the alleged murder. They were sent on a five-day custody till September 11 by a local court in Paonta Sahib.
As per the allegations, the activist was first beaten and then run over with an SUV owned by the up-pradhan. His dead body was found drenched in blood with a badly disfigured face in Bakras. Initially, the police thought it to be a case of possible road accident, but later a case was filed under Section 302 of the IPC and SC/ST Act.
As another jolt to the reputation of the local police, the family had requested a post-mortem at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, instead of conducting it in Sirmaur. The family showed distrust in the local police and the administration.
The protestors and the family are demanding a fair probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) instead of leaving it in the hands of state police.
After the post-mortem on Saturday evening, a protest had burst out outside the IGMC. Protestors including the family of the slain activist and Member of Legislative Assembly, Theog, Rakesh Singha, staged an aggressive protest and tried to carry the dead body to the residence of the Chief Minister.
When stopped by police at the Shimla Ridge, protesters scuffled with police. The body was kept in a rain-shelter on the Ridge entire night despite the rain. The Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and the Deputy Inspector General, HP Police, Asif Jalal, met the family and the protestors early morning on Sunday.
After assurance from the two regarding a fair probe and adequate financial relief to the grief-stricken family, the protestors allowed the body to be carried to his native place for a cremation.
They assured that a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh would be given to the victim’s family. As per provision, one of the family members would also be given a government job along with free education up to graduation to Kedar’s children.
The family of Kedar – two daughters and a wife-are alleging it was a planned murder. The activist, who was also a lawyer, had raised grievance and issues related to the SC/ST community and had even exposed an alleged fraud in the registration of families in the Below Poverty Line category. He had pointed out that accused up-pradhan had misused his position and influence to help several families get fake BPL certificates on the basis of which they had secured government jobs.
As per the family, Kedar had been receiving threats to his life for last few months. Kedar had made a complaint to police regarding the same and requested protection. He had named several persons in writing from whom he was receiving threats. The family also alleged that attempts have been made to assault him previously too. The police, however, did not take any action on his request, the family alleged.
Meanwhile, unrest was reported among RTI activists, social workers, whistleblowers, and especially in the SC community. The police has also been docked over its inaction.
A video of an eyewitness is also being shared on the social media. As per this eyewitness, Kedar was first beaten to death by five people and later crushed under an SUV. He was run over by the said SUV multiple times, this eyewitness claimed. However, the police is yet to comment regarding this eyewitness.
This eyewitness was said to be scared as the accused belong to an influential family and requested police protection.