Prison officials likely to get clean chit in youth’s death

The prison authorities are likely to be given a clean chit in the death of a remand prisoner who had a seizure and collapsed at the Borstal school at Thrikkakara on January 12 and died the day after at Kottayam Government Medical College Hospital.

Shefeek, 35, of Kanjirappally in Kottayam was arrested by the Udayamperoor police and was kept at the Borstal school in the interim period awaiting his COVID-19 test result before being shifted to prison as is the practice now in the case of remand prisoners.

Sam Thankkayyan,, DIG, Prisons, Central Zone, who was entrusted with a probe into the death after the victim’s family alleged foul play and custodial torture, is likely to submit his report to DGP, Prisons, in the next couple of days. The report, it is learnt, has absolved the prison authorities of any wrongdoing and vindicates their claim that they had ensured timely medical assistance and followed all legal protocol.

Social media post

The controversy around the death was reignited on Thursday after Nipun Cherian, the campaign controller of V4 Kochi, in a social media post accused the prison authorities of indifference and demanded that they be charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He was an inmate at the Borstal school at the time of the incident after being remanded in connection with the unauthorised opening of the Vyttila flyover.

He claimed that he was eyewitness to the incident that happened right opposite the cell in which he was kept.

“The victim was attended by his co-inmates and the jail authorities rather than moving him to hospital despite repeated pleas. His death could have been averted if timely medical assistance was provided,” said Mr. Cherian who also complained of the unhygienic conditions, bad food, and absence of COVID protocol in the Borstal school.

Allegations denied

However, the Borstal school authorities shot down the allegations and claimed that the victim was given timely medical assistance despite his reassurance that he used to have seizures and that there was nothing to worry about. “He had a seizure at 12.30 p.m. following which he was sent to the Thripunithura taluk hospital to consult the doctor despite his reluctance. He was alright thereafter before he vomited following which he was rushed to the Ernakulam General Hospital from where he was referred to the Kottayam Medical College only because of lack of beds and not because his condition was serious,” said the Borstal school authorities. He died there the next day.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 1:16:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/prison-officials-likely-to-get-clean-chit-in-youths-death/article33630449.ece

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