Ritesh Pais (19) committed suicide at his house in Barebail late on Saturday, allegedly owing to harassment by the police, who had booked him in a petty case. The youth, who was a hardware engineering student, has left behind a suicide note the contents of which are yet to be made public.
Both the jurisdictional Kadri Police and Ritesh’s parents agreed that the names of Urwa Police Sub-Inspector, C. Kiran, and constable Shivappa Gowda, had been mentioned in the suicide note. However, conflicting points of view have emerged about the other contents of the note.
According to the Kadri Police, Ritesh has blamed his father and sister, who allegedly berated him for getting involved in the police case and bringing the family into disrepute. But, Ritesh’s father, and his neighbours, told The Hindu that Ritesh had asked for forgiveness from his family in his letter, and not blamed them for his death.
“They (the police) used to come to his house at all odd hours and create ugly scenes. They used abusive and threatening language which could be heard by the entire neighbourhood,” said Illias Pais, a neighbour. According to the youth’s father, Walter Pais, Ritesh was under tremendous pressure because of the daily harassment and the public humiliation he faced at the hands of the two police officers. The trouble started for the Pais family two years ago, when they entered into an altercation with Shamim D’Souza, who allegedly courted the affection of Ritesh’s sister, who was married by then. The local church intervened in the matter, and arbitrated a settlement between the two families, according to Ritesh’s lawyer.
Mr. D’Souza filed a complaint with the Urwa police, recently, alleging that Ritesh and his father had threatened him, and attempted at extorting money from him. Based on that complaint, the Urwa police registered an FIR, and produced the father and son before a local court. They were remanded to judicial custody and later released on bail. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), which has decided to pursue the case to its logical end, has accused the police of foul play. Superintendent of Police A.S. Rao said that the allegations against the police would be investigated. “Although the suicide note also blames the family, we are concerned about the allegations levelled against the officers,” he said.