Candlelight protest held for release of Sanjiv Bhatt

Bhatt, who was dismissed from service in 2015, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Jamnagar last month in a three-decade-old custodial death case. PTI file photo

More than a hundred people, mostly activists, on Monday evening gathered outside the residence of ex IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, recently sentenced to life in a custodial death, and took out the "candlelight vigil" demanding his release. Among the supporters was Jammu & Kashmir-based advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat who is known for taking up the case of Kathua rape victim.

"We have gathered here to support Sanjiv Bhatt as his conviction in the custodial death case is nothing but an attempt to silence him from criticizing the government. Therefore, we need to give him a strong rebuttal. If we let such things go no one will have the guts to speak up," she told reporters while holding a candle in solidarity with Bhatt and his family at their residence on Gurukul Road in Vastrapur area. She added that "a legal team is also gearing up for filing an appeal petition in the Gujarat High Court soon."

Magsaysay award winner and activist Sandeep Pandey, activists Ashok Kumar Singh, Kaleem Siddique, Ikram Mirza, father Cedric Prakash, Noorjahan Diwan among others. There were people from Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala among others who lit the candles and raised slogans supporting Bhatt and criticising the government for targeting the ex-officer.

Bhatt, who was dismissed from service in 2015, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Jamnagar last month in a three-decade-old custodial death case. He is also facing trial in a narcotics case in Banaskantha for allegedly framing a lawyer.

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