Days after the Kerala police came under severe criticism following the custodial death of Varappuzha-native Sreejith, there is more evidence which indicates that the 26-year-old may have indeed been tortured before death.
While Malayalam media had reported soon after Sreejith's death quoting hospital sources that he had injuries on his abdomen, more details have now emerged.
Manorama News reported on Monday, 16 April that there were 20 injuries on Sreejith's body, including on his genitals. The post-mortem report accessed by the TV news channel, states that an injury on Sreejith's small intestine is the cause of his death.
His large intestine was also badly injured, said the report, adding that such an injury could only be sustained due to a kick. Because of the injury on the intestines, the food reportedly got mixed with blood, leading to infection that spread to his other organs.
Sreejith died last week at a hospital in Ernakulam, just two days after he was arrested by the Varappuzha police on charges of abetment to suicide. This followed 56-year-old Vasudevan committing suicide after a gang, allegedly involving Sreejith, had threatened him.
However, it was soon revealed that the police, which faced allegations of custodial torture, had in fact arrested the wrong Sreejith in the case.
With pressure mounting on the Kerala police, DGP Loknath Behera constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case. Following this, seven police officers were suspended from duty.
While Sreejith's custodial death attracted ire from the public as well as opposition parties, the incident also forced the Kerala police to take measures to make themselves more accountable. The DGP ordered all police stations to install CCTV inside lock-ups.
The Chief Minister also remarked that strict action would be taken in cases of custodial death.
(The story was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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