Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Government today ordered a judicial probe into the death of a 40-year-old man due to alleged custodial torture. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told the Assembly that the government had decided to order a judicial probe into the incident and provide financial assistance to the family of Siby, the victim, from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.
Admitting that there had been lapses on the part of police in the case, he said when the man had been taken into custody he should have been immediately taken for medical examination as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission. The guilty will not be protected and the government was committed to bring to book those behind the heinous act, he said.
Relatives of Siby, who belongs to Schedule Caste community, had alleged that police in Marangattupally in Kottayam district had tortured him after he was taken into custody on June 29 resulting in severe head injuries. Though an emergency surgery was performed, his life could not be saved and he died on July 11.
Though police denied any torture, based on the Crime branch SP’s report, a Sub Inspector has already been suspended. The issue was painful and the government views it very seriously, the minister said. Such an unfortunate incident had taken place despite there being a circular that members of SC community should be given special consideration in police stations, he said.
On opposition allegation that the aged parents of Siby, father of three children, were forced to clean up the place where he lay naked in a pool of his urine and stool at the police station, Chennithala said this would be looked into and if there was any truth on the charge, government would consider registering a case under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
CPI(M) MLA K Radhakrishnan, a former Speaker, who sought permission to move an adjournment motion on the issue, said many people had lost their lives in police custody since the Congress-led UDF government came to power.
Radhakrishnan alleged that the man had been brutally assaulted by police on the way to the police station and while in the lock up which led to his subsequent death. The alleged act of police forcing the parents to clean up the place was something unheard of in Kerala, he said.
To protect the police, efforts were on to put the blame on a 16-year-old boy with whom Sibi had an altercation after which he was taken into custody, he said. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan alleged that the government was supporting the police’s barbaric act.
After the Speaker N Shaktan denied permission for the motion, opposition members trooped to the well of the House demanding that a murder case be registered against the concerned police personnel. The Speaker went ahead with some business after which the House was adjourned for the day.
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