February 16 began as any other day for 17-year-old Renjith. But by the time the day ended, the teen’s days were numbered. As he was studying at home that evening, a group of men entered his home, and beat him up without any explanation – an incident that ultimately led to his death almost two weeks later.
Following Renjith’s death on February 28, the Thekkumbhagam police in Kollam arrested Vineeth, the district’s jail warden. It was Vineeth who had allegedly beaten up Renjith on February 16 believing Renjith was someone else.
When TNM contacted the Thekkumbhagam police station, an official said that according to the men who attacked Renjith, the latter had allegedly made fun of a girl who was related to Vineeth. This girl also happens to be the daughter of Sarasan Pillai, a CPI (M) branch secretary of Arinalloor village in Kollam, as well as Vineeth’s paternal uncle.
“He did not even know who this girl was. They beat up my son for no fault of his,” rued Renjith’s father Radhakrishnan, just hours before his son’s funeral on Friday.
Renjith, who was undergoing treatment at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College for fits he started having after the assault, passed away around 4:30 pm on Thursday.
What happened on February 16
Narrating the events of February 16, Radhakrishnan alleged that two men had come to their house around 9:30 pm and questioned them and their son if he made fun of a girl. “They seemed convinced that our son didn’t make fun of the girl so they left,” said Radhakrishnan.
But that was not the end of it. An hour later, Vineeth, along with five other men reached their house, dragged out Renjith, and allegedly beat him up without any explanation and paying no heed to Renjith or his parents’ pleas.
“All of them continued to beat him despite him trying to tell them that he didn’t make fun of the girl,” Radhakrishnan’s voice breaks as he recalls the ghastly night.
The police official at the Thekkumbhagam police station had confirmed to TNM what the preliminary report revealed - that Renjith did not disturb or make fun of the girl.
According to eyewitnesses, the men hit Renjith on his ear and head. And following the assault, Renjith started having fits and bouts of unconsciousness. The teen’s distraught parents went from hospital to hospital in Kollam seeking treatment for their son, but were turned away for the lack of medical facilities.
Finally, Renjith was admitted to the Ananthapuri hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. His father says he even regained consciousness on February 17. “He spoke for a while and then fell unconscious again. He never woke up after that,” Radhakrishnan’s voice trails off.
Realising that the treatment at Ananthapuri was not working out, Renjith’s parents decided to shift him to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College on Tuesday night, where he breathed his last on Thursday.
The police official told TNM that they registered a case against Vineeth the day the parents filed a complaint, before they took their son to Thiruvananthapuram.
But Renjith’s father argues that the police had not taken their complaint seriously and had not even tried to catch the accused that day.
Vineeth was finally arrested on Thursday following the Renjith’s death and according to the police official, he has been booked under sections 347 (Wrongful confinement to extort property, or constrain to illegal act), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code IPC.
Renjith’s mortal remains were brought to his home in Kollam on Friday, where he was cremated around 4:30 pm on the same day.