A POCSO convict and inmate of Keralaâ€™s Viyyur Central Prison died on Friday, following which his family has alleged custodial torture as a possible cause of his death. Abdul Majid, a 43-year-old from Pattimattam in Perumbavoor, was sentenced by the Ernakulam POCSO court to a 10-year jail term. Following this, he was moved to the Viyyur Central Prison in Thrissur on January 27. Just a day later, he was admitted to the Thrissur Medical College Hospital where he passed away, a week later, on Friday.
The police informed his family that Abdul had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. However, his family alleged that the death was a result of custodial torture. A letter of complaint will be submitted to the Chief Ministerâ€™s Office and the prison Inspector General, according to reports.
Officials at the Viyyur police station told TNM that Abdulâ€™s post mortem is currently being conducted in the Thrissur Medical College Hospital. An inquest order has also been registered in the presence of the Tahsildar.
Further, speaking to TNM, authorities at the Viyyur Prison denied foul play in his death.
â€śHis jail term was supposed to end on January 30, 2029 - 10 years after his conviction. On the second day of his sentence he complained of chest pain and was moved to the Medical College Hospital where he passed away after being treated for one week. How is this custodial death?â€ť he said.
The officer in charge also said that the hospital had stated that Abdul had high blood pressure due to which he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away on Friday morning.
Kerala has had a notorious history of custodial death cases, many of which have made headlines. In April 2018, a 26-year-old Varappuzha native, SR Sreejith, was arrested by the police for his suspected involvement in abetting the suicide of 54-year old Devaswompadam native KM Vasudevan who hanged himself after a gang broke into his house and assaulted him. A few hours after Sreejith was arrested he was taken to a private hospital where he died on April 9 that year due to abdominal injuries. The state human rights commission expressed strong suspicions that Sreejith died due to custodial torture.
In another case of alleged custodial death, a 25-year-old man named Sreejeev was taken into custody by the Parassala police on allegations of theft. A few days later he died in a hospital. This case later went on the grab national headlines with Srejeevâ€™s brother protesting before the Kerala secretariat for his brotherâ€™s justice for a record 783 days. Sreejith and his mother demanded a CBI probe on his brotherâ€™s death, who died in police custody.
In yet another sensational case, in 2018 the Thiruvananthapuram CBI court awarded the death sentence in the infamous 2005 Udayakumar custodial death case, 13 years post the incident. The 26-year-old custodial torture victim was taken to the Fort police station in Thiruvananthapuram in 2005 for questioning in a theft case. He was subsequently subjected to third degree methods of interrogation. The case had triggered wide spread protests across Kerala.