After 13-Yr-Long Fight, A Mother Gets Justice For Son; Five Policemen Convicted For Custodial Death
Two police officers were sentenced to death and three other police officers have been given a three-year sentence on July 24, by a Thiruvananthapuram special CBI court for a custodial death that happened in 2005.
The accused constables K Jithakumar and SV Sreekumar were found guilty of the custodial death of Udayakumar at Fort police station in Thiruvananthapuram in 2005. Three other officers, including former Fort assistant commissioner TK Haridas, former circle inspector EK Sabu and former sub-inspector Ajith Kumar were charged with conspiracy and have been given a three-year sentence.
This is the first time serving police officers have been given a death sentence.
What happened in 2005?
The nature of this particular custodial death is similar to ‘urutii kola’, a burial practice where a wooden log is rolled over the body of an accused. 13 years ago, the then 26-year-old Udayakumar was spread-eagled on a bench and then crushed with an iron pipe, reports The News Minute.
On September 27, 2005, Udayakumar was picked up from the Sreekanteswaram Park in Thiruvananthapuram after he was found to be involved in some cases. The police found him in possession of Rs 4000. This automatically led the police to believe that he stole the money. He was tortured. Udayakumar had 22 injury marks on his body, the postmortem later revealed.
A mother’s fight
Prabhavthi Amma, Udayakumar’s mother was fiercely fighting for 13 years for justice for her only son. The woman was devastated by such a horrific tragedy. But now, the judgement, although reminds her of her son, brings her happiness. After the judgement, she said she has “suffered the agony a person can undergo in a lifetime.”
“I am happy that the court found the culprits guilty, but at the same time, I am sad that my son is not with me. It was a fight for my son and I hope to be where he is,” said Prabhavathi Amma, as she broke down in front of the media gathered outside the court.
She says that she is not scared of anyone. In the last 13 years, she has been attacked but she never gave up her fight. She says that she used to go to the court all alone. Some people would cheer her up and ask her to look after herself and always keep on fighting.
“I will not say it is for me; it is for all mothers. No other mother and child should go through this. Mothers, who face similar experience should fight against such brutalities. There were attempts to kill me so that the culprits could escape. By the grace of God, I have managed to survive these testing times. The goddess at the Mannadiyil temple near my house was with me. Now if anyone would try to attack me, I would hurl at least a stone at him. I have lost my son, so I am fearless,” reported The News Minute.
Justice for Sreejith
Sreejith Parassala, a 29-year-old man from Kerala, became famous after people took notice of his two-year continuous protest in front of the secretariat in January 2018. He claimed that his brother, Sreejeev, was killed by police while in custody.
It was in 2014 that Parassala police had taken Sreejeev into custody for mobile phone theft. He died at the medical college hospital. The State Police Complaints Authority held a preliminary probe and found Parassala circle inspector Gopakumar and additional sub-inspector Philipose guilty. But the detailed police investigation could not find any shred of evidence of custodial torture.
Sreejith protested for 782 days and stopped when the CM promised him a CBI enquiry. Although the CM in a letter said that CBI was interested in probing the case further, on July 9, the Kerala High Court turned down his plea.