The alleged suicide by a deputy superintendent (DySP) of Kerala police who allegedly pushed to death a 32-year-old youth has been termed by the deceased’s widow as a divine justice but wants action against the state's police chief under the law of the land for full justice to the departed soul.
B Harikumar, the police officer who allegedly murdered Sanal Kumar, a native of Neyyattinkara in Thiruvananthapuram district, allegedly by pushing him before a moving car at a busy junction in the town on 5 November, was found hanging in his ancestral house at Kallambalam, 45 kilometres from the state capital on Tuesday morning.
Viji, wife of Sanal, heard the news of the death of the police officer shortly after she began a fast at the spot where her husband was knocked down by the car demanding a CBI inquiry into the murder.
She called off the fast after confirming the death of Harikumar but has vowed to continue her fight till all those directly and indirectly responsible for the death of her husband are brought to the book.
She holds the Kerala director general of police, Loknath Behra, primarily responsible for the death of her husband as he failed to take any action on several complaints lodged against the police officer for his alleged criminal deeds and for delaying his arrest.
She also wants action against the police officers and the DySP’s friends who helped him escape after committing the crime and shielded him subsequently.
Viji believes that the deceased police officer could live safely in hiding for nine days because of the alleged support that he got from the state police force. The action council formed to pursue the case has extended her its full support.
Action council president Vishnupurm Chandrashekharan alleged that the it was a cold-blooded murder by Harikumar, who had a track record of committing many atrocities against innocent people during his tenure as DySP in Neyyattinkara.
It was a minor altercation over a parking place that led to the tragic death of the youth. Harikumar, who was in civil dress, had come to a house in the locality in his private vehicle. He was provoked when the police officer saw Sanal’s car parked behind his vehicle.
Being unable to move his vehicle, the DySP reportedly abused Sanal and demanded the vehicle be cleared from the spot. While Sanal moved the vehicle ahead, he reportedly entered into an argument with the official, who allegedly assaulted the victim, according to the eye witnesses.
Without making any attempt to take the seriously injured youth to the hospital, Harikumar fled from the area with the help of a friend. His colleagues also did not make any sincere efforts to provide him treatment. Sanal’s family believe that his life could have been saved if he was rushed to a super specialty hospital, which is just 5 minutes from the spot.
Instead, the policemen at the Neyyattinkara station wasted precious time by taking him to the Neyyttinkara general hospital, where there is no trauma care facility. Even after the doctors there advised the cops to rush him to the Thiruvananthapuram medical college, they allegedly took the ambulance carrying Sanal to the police station first to drop a police official who had completed his duty and take another in his place, according to a report in Manorama News.
Quoting the driver of the ambulance, the report said that the official ordered him to proceed to the police station when he was about to switch on the siren and proceed to the medical college. Aneesh, the ambulance driver, said that 10 precious minutes were lost due to the diversion of the vehicle to the police station.
“I was wondering why, when the police official ordered me to proceed to the police station. Sanal, who was fighting for his life, was then taken through the alleys to the police station, which was half-a-kilometre away. At the station, the policeman got off the vehicle and another official got in. The siren and lights where switched on only after the ambulance passed the bylane and reached the main road,” Aneesh told Manorama News.
Aneesh said that the local people who had gathered at the spot of the crime had asked the driver to take Sanal to the medical college hospital, but the cop ordered the vehicle to be taken to the Neyyattinkara general hospital.
The murder led to outrage and protests in Neyyattinkara since 5 November, with agitators demanding Harikumar's immediate arrest. The protesters also accused the police of delaying his arrest. Sanal’s family and the action council alleged that the police were trying to make it an accident death.
The investigation into the death was first handed over to an additional superintendent of police. The case was handed over to an inspector general (IG) rank officer only after the family and the local residents intensified their agitation.
The incident is seen by human rights activists as a reflection of rising criminalisation of men in uniform in the Kerala police. There have been more than half a dozen cases where the cops allegedly abuse, harass and even beat up innocent citizens.
In July this year, an NRI businessman, who came from Qatar for the marriage of his daughter, was reportedly arrested, assaulted and disrobed in a police station and pushed into jail accusing him of stealing a gold chain of a housewife.
Earlier in March, a retired railway station master was punched in the face by an assistant sub-inspector for allegedly obstructing the convoy of the governor. The bleeding face of the senior citizen with a ruptured nose took the social media by storm forcing the DGP to issue a circular asking all cops on traffic duty to attend a one-day training session on civility.
However, the present incident shows that the training had no effect on the cops, who continue their high-handed actions. Former DGP Jacob Punnose said that this was the arrogant nature of the police that was responsible for the excesses being committed by the police. He demanded stern action against the guilty to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future.
Information rights activist advocate D Binu said that the number of policemen involved in criminal cases in Kerala is increasing by every passing year. Close to 1,000 personnel of the state’s 54,000-strong police force are accused of involving in criminal cases, as per documents he secured through the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
A panel headed by the DGP (crime) had recently submitted a report to state police chief, recommending immediate disciplinary action against 59 police personnel involved in serious criminal offences, ranging from attempt to murder to sexual harassment.
The panel was formed on the DGP’s directions to suggest action against tainted officers in the force. At least 10 of the 59 officers named by the panel could be dismissed from service. However, no action has been taken against any of these officials so far.
Human rights activists feel that the high-handed acts of police have been going on in the absence of stringent action. The innocent youth at Neyyattinaka would not have lost his life if action was taken against Harikumar for his criminal acts.
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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2018 17:14:49 IST