A youngster, who allegedly panicked on seeing a police patrol team and jumped into a water body, drowned here in the wee hours of Sunday.
The police version is as follows: Biju, a contract labourer who cleans canals, was returning from the Ponga Kudapuram temple festival around 12 a.m. on a two-wheeler along with his friends Sundaran and Anish.
The trio stopped the bike on seeing a police patrol team checking vehicles near the Pandarakalam Junction on the Alappuzha-Changanassery Road. While Biju and Sundaran got off the bike, Anish sped off.
The police team, which saw the duo trying to slowly walk away into the dark, called out to them and approached them. Biju, who was allegedly in an inebriated condition, panicked and jumped into the nearby water body, known as the Boothapandam Kayal, which has a major portion of it clogged with mud and water hyacinths.
The police immediately summoned Fire & Rescue personnel from Alappuzha, who abandoned the search after a couple of hours due to poor light. The search continued through the day and the body of Biju,
cloaked in mud and hyacinths, was retrieved around 3.30 p.m., barely two metres away from the spot from where he had jumped into the water.
Though the body was in full rigor mortis, one hand still clutched a mobile phone.
However, as the police attempted to take the body to the Alappuzha General Hospital for post-mortem in the same condition, irate public blocked them, some of them even trying to manhandle the policemen,
alleging that it was indiscriminate frisking and helmet checking drives by the police that had led to the tragic incident. The mob blocked the police and the AC Road for over 30 minutes before public representatives intervened and pacified them.
The body was taken to the General Hospital for post-mortem.
Biju, who lives quite close to the spot where he died, is the son of Thankappan, Kolluthara House, Pandarakalam and is survived by his parents, wife Sabitha and daughter Anagha.