Kerala custody death: Congress says government action inadequate

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Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi, May 12 (IANS) The Kerala Congress on Saturday said mere arrest of some police officers and suspension of Ernakulam Superintendent of Police (Rural) A.V. George over the custodial death of a 26-year-old youth is not adequate.

Earlier, a Sub-Inspector and three others were arrested in connection with the death of Sreejith in police custody, while George was put under suspension on Friday.

It all began with 56-year-old Vasudevan hanging himself after being threatened by a group of men at his house in early April.

A special police squad took Sreejith, father of a two-year-old, and nine others into custody on April 7 and charged them with abetment to suicide and rioting. Subsequently, Sreejith was taken to a hospital where he died on April 9.

The Congress-led opposition was up in arms over the youth’s death, alleging that the government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the Home portfolio, were shielding George.

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“Things are now clear that George was being shielded by Vijayan and the CPI-M, as he was acting on behalf of a section of the party leaders. So, just his suspension won’t do, he should be charged with murder,” Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here.

Sreejith’s mother told the media on Saturday that the conspiracy to arrest Sreejith was hatched at the behest of a local CPI-M leader and that a meeting was held to decide who all should be arrested for barging into the house of Vasudevan.

No sooner had she made this statement, reports came that a local CPI leader near Sreejith’s home was called in by the police probe team, questioned and his statement taken.

Chennithala said that the role of CPI-M leaders in Kochi must also be probed.

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George had been in news previously, as he was involved in the arrest of PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany a few years back, probed the actress kidnap case, which led to the arrest of superstar Dileep and a few other high profile cases.

Meanwhile, according to informed sources, state police chief Loknath Behra has submitted the report of the police probe team led by Inspector General of Police S. Sreejith to Vijayan.

–IANS

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