Kerala: Youth Allegedly Died In Police Custody After Police Arrested Him Over Mistaken Identity
A 26-year-old man from Kerala allegedly died in police custody. Sreejith, who was in police custody since Saturday, died on Monday night at a Hospital in Ernakulam. He was arrested by the police in connection with the suicide of CPI (M) leader Vasudevan. Sreejith reportedly was a BJP sympathizer.
Three police officers were suspended in the wake of allegations raised against them.
BJP leaders and the family members of Sreejith claimed that he was not present during the clash at Vasudevan’s house who committed suicide on Friday. Sreejith was arrested after the police recorded Vasudevan’s son’s statement that Sreejith was one among the 14 persons who attacked their house. However, Vineesh, son of Vasudevan, said that he has not seen Sreejith, who allegedly died in police custody at his house on the day of the attack. He added that police might have arrested Sreejith confusing him to be another person with the same name.
“The Sreejith about whom I complained against also stays in the same locality. Cops are yet to arrest any of the main accused as per our complaint,” Vineesh told The Times of India.
Manu, a friend of Sreejith told The Times of India that Sreejith and Vineesh were close friends. “They confused Sreejith SR with another Sreejith who is also known as Thulasidas. Many others in custody are also innocent. The inability of the cops to arrest the first three accused and the sixth accused shows that they were trying to make do with whomever they got in the raids that night,” he added.
Sreejith’s neighbours informed that he was sleeping on the portico of his house when police approached him. “They took him away locking his arms as soon as he told them that his name was Sreejith. A few minutes later they returned as if they were looking for someone else. They then arrested his brother Sajith as well. Sreejith was beaten up as he was resisting custody while Sajith was not attacked as he went with them without much resistance,” said Saraswati, Sreejith’s neighbour.
Sreejith was admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam on Sunday after he complained of abdominal pain, and inability to urinate. He had undergone a surgery but died on Monday night. As per the report by The New Indian Express, forensic expert Dr B Umaduttan said that there were indications of custodial torture.
“This is a case of unnatural death. Any death that happened because of causes that are not natural can be stated as such. With the allegations against the police standing, it is important the investigation is foolproof,” Umaduttan told The New Indian Express. “Speculations will lead us nowhere with regard to the symptoms, as they could mean innumerable things. If a proper autopsy is not done, it could lead to wrongful conclusions and diversion of the investigation,” he added.