Sreejith, a youngster from Parassaala has been staging a protest for nearly 430 days now. Staging his protest in front of the Secretariat in Trivandrum, he is fighting tooth and nail for justice for his sibling Sreejeev. Sreejeev, who was arrested on May 19, 2014, died after two days, while in police custody.
The police had told that he has consumed poison which led to his death. Investigations by the Police Complaints Authority however, found that Sreejeev was forcibly administered poison after being tortured by authorities to the point of exhaustion. The investigation had also revealed identity of the police officials involved in custodial death of Sreejeev. Sreejeev was arrested on the behest of a neighbour, with whose daughter Sreejeev had a relationship. Fearing that she would elope with him, he requested a relative of his, additional sub-inspector Philippose to detain 27-year-old Sreejeev.
DGP Loknath Behera has reportedly put a temporary suspension on the order by the Police Complaint Authority. After the real reason of Sreejeev’s death was revealed, the Police Complaint Authority had recommended suspension for the involved officers and a fine of Rs 10 lakhs that had to be collected from them. This amount was supposed to be given to Sreejeev’s mother and his brother. Chief Secretary for Home, Nalini Netto had asked DGP Loknath Behera to comply with this order immediately, to which Behera said that the action would take place only if the officials were proved guilty.
The officials involved in detaining Sreejeev had apparently provided false information regarding his death. They have also moved High Court claiming innocence and that no disciplinary action should be taken against them. A special team under the South zone ADGP B Sandhya has been formed to investigate the death thoroughly.
Sreejeev’s brother Sreejith who has been protesting in front of the Secretariat since last 430 days, started an indefinite fast 34 days ago. He wants action to be taken against the police officials involved in his brother’s custodial death. As of now, top police officials keep maintaining that the investigation is progressing. Sreejith, who had met the CM, Pinarayi Vijayan, said that the CM had asked him to stop fasting and that there would be a solution to the situation.
The youngster’s story is catching on in social media where his story is being shared. In a similar story of custodial death of a youngster Udaykumar in 2005, his mother was given an interim compensation of INR ten lakhs. The youngster was found to be sitting with his friend Suresh Kumar at Sreekandeswaram Park in the capital city. As Suresh Kumar was accused of theft earlier and Udayakumar was found to be in possession of some money, the duo was taken into custody by two constables, K. Jithukumar, S.V. Sreekumar of the Fort police station. He was apparently brutally beaten by E.K. Sabu, the then Circle Inspector of Police. He was said to be spread eagled and caned on the soles of his feet and an iron rod forcefully rolled down his thighs. He eventually succumbed to the injuries at the Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
In this case too, action against the police officials came much after Udayakumar’s death, with the officials doing their best to avoid being framed in the case.
Grotesque as it may seem, torture in the police chamber seems to be unaccounted for in many cases. While influential officials seek different means to claim innocence and avoid disciplinary action being taken against them, it is the relatives of the deceased who suffer emotional scars while awaiting justice for their beloved.