Four more police personnel were suspended today in connection with the alleged custodial death of 26-year old man near Kochi, over which opposition parties have been attacking the LDF government.
The action came on a day when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government will take stringent action in custodial deaths and thoseresponsible will not be spared.
With this, the number of police personnel suspended in connection with the death has risen to seven. Earlier, three police personnel of the armed police camp at Kalamassery in Kochi were suspended on April 10, a day after S R Sreejith died at a hospital.
The decision to suspend the four was taken based on a preliminary report by a special investigation team set up to probe the allegations that the youth from Varappuzha died due to police torture, a senior police official said.
Those suspended are North Paravoor Circle Inspector Chrispin Sam, Sub-Inspector Deepak, Grade Assistant Sub-Inspector Sudheer and civic police officer Santhosh Baby, all attached to Varappuzha police station.
Police in Thiruvananthapuram said a direction had been given to instal CCTV cameras in all 470 police stations in the station.
A report from Kochi, quoting police, said a department-level probe had also been launched against the suspended policemen.
Earlier today, the SIT chief IGP S Sreejit visited the house of the deceased and took statements of his wife, parents and others and submitted his preliminary report to the DGP.
In his first reaction to the incident, Vijayan speaking in Kasaragod said: "In custodial deaths, the government will ensure strict action."
The accused, whoever they may be, will not be allowed to escape, Vijayan said adding the LDF government would ensure that they face action.
Sreejit had died in a hospital with his family alleging that the youth was kicked several times on the stomach and thrashed by the police officials who took him into custody in connection with a case relating to suicide of a 52-year-old CPI(M) sympathiser.
"Those taken into custody should not die. The government's stand is those responsible for such deaths will not be spared. In Sreejith's case a proper investigation is now going on', Vijayan, who holds the home portfolio, said.
Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala alleged that lockups in the state had become 'killing fields'.
The party would launch an agitation demanding a compensation of Rs.25 lakhs to the family of Sreejit and also a job to his wife, he said.
BJP had earlier observed a hartal in Varappuzha Panchayat, protesting the death of Sreejith, who it claimed was its worker.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)