Demands ex gratia for victim's kin

Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) members walked out of the Assembly on Thursday to protest against a Dalit youth's death by hanging at Vithura near here after being held by the police on Tuesday.

The Opposition alleged that the police had beaten up Sinu (26) after he was picked up from near his house.

Seeking leave of the Assembly for an adjournment motion on the issue, Koliyakode N. Krishnan Nair (CPI-M) said the police charge that the youth was in a drunken state when he was held was not true and that the police had beaten him up without any serious provocation. He demanded an ex gratia of at least Rs.10 lakh for Sinu's family.

Rebutting the Opposition charge, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the youth and the person held along with him were found to be in an inebriated state when subjected to medical examination.

The government, he said, would not allow the police to beat up anyone in lock-up. The circumstances that led to the youth's death were being investigated by a Deputy Superintendent of Police under the supervision of the Superintendent of Police (Rural), he said.

The youth, he said, had tried to commit suicide a year ago over a quarrel with his mother. He was also one of the accused in a case relating to a gang attack on a woman and had obtained bail only on October 1. Regardless of all these, the government would deal firmly with any person found to be responsible for the youth's death, he said.

Not an isolated incident

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Legislature Party deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who led the Opposition walkout, said that Sinu's death was not an isolated incident. Several such incidents had been reported in the recent past and the Chief Minister's statement about the youth amounted to giving a green signal to the police to beat up drunkards to death.

Chairman of the SC/ST Parliamentary Forum Kodikkunnil Suresh, MP, has demanded a high-level inquiry into the death of a Dalit youth who allegedly committed suicide after being released from custody from Vithura police station.