Tense situation at Kattakada

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MAY 29. A tense situation prevailed in Kattakada for sometime on Wednesday afternoon when scores of CPI (M) workers marched to the local police station demanding an impartial inquiry into the death of Manikantan Nair (42) who was allegedly tortured in police custody on Sunday.

Manikantan, who was arrested in connection with a drunken brawl by the Kattakada police on Sunday, had developed chest-pain at his residence on Tuesday.

After preliminary care at a local clinic, he was rushed to the Medical College Hospital where he died at around 12-30 p.m.

Local residents and CPI (M) workers have accused the Kattakada police of torturing Manikantan in police custody on Sunday and believe that the third degree treatment had resulted in his death on Tuesday.

However, senior police officials have termed the allegation as false and baseless.

When contacted, the SP (Rural), G. Lekshman, said that Manikantan was arrested along with one Suni and Rajan, both BJP workers, on Sunday afternoon following a drunken brawl at the funeral of two persons who had committed suicide.

They were brought to the police station at around 4-30 p.m. All were let off on bail by around 8-30 p.m. Mr. Lekshman said that Manikantan had taken a stiff beating from the BJP workers before the police arrived on the scene. He said Manikantan was never harassed at the police station or subjected to third degree treatment as alleged by local residents.

Meanwhile, local police officials said that the preliminary inference of the forensic experts at the Medical College was that Manikantan had died of a massive heart attack. However, the police were waiting for the detailed post-mortem report before giving a concrete statement on the cause of Manikantan's death.

The body of Manikantan was cremated at his residence in the presence of a huge crowd. The Leader of the Opposition, V.S.Achuthanandan, visited the house of the deceased.

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