An African man, reportedly hailing from Nigeria, died under mysterious circumstances in Bengaluru on Monday morning. According to the police, the man died in a road accident on the Kothnoor-Avlahalli road in the city.
The police told mediapersons that a team of officials of the Women and Narcotics Cell of the City Crime Branch (CCB), led by Yashavanth Kumar, were patrolling on the road, following a tip-off that a drug exchange was scheduled to take place there.
"At the time, two men came riding on a Deo bike and passed by the officials who were in civilian clothes. They then came around again and skid a few meters away from the police officials. The rider managed to escape the spot, but the pillion rider sustained injuries. The officials who were there on a tip-off, then rushed him to Bowring hospital, but he was declared brought dead," ACP Hemant Nimbalkar told media persons on Monday evening.
The police have also registered a case at the Devanahalli traffic police station under sections 279 and 304(a) of the IPC, for rash and negligent driving causing death.
However, members of the All African Students in India are sceptical of the police version of events. Speaking to The News Minute, Bosco Kaweesi, legal advisor to African students in Bengaluru, said that they had little faith in the police version of the death occurring due to an accident.
"This morning, officials of CCB asked me to go to Bowring hospital to identify the body. At the time, I was not able to. But later on, after making enquiries, we were able to ascertain his identity. After seeing the body, it is clear that he was caught and beaten up by the police. There was a massive injury on the back on his head, which was bleeding even at 12pm. There are so many loopholes in the police version... how can someone who was on a bike sustain this kind of injury in a road accident? That is not possible at all, it is a mysterious death," Bosco alleged.
Though DCP North (Traffic) told TNM that the identity of the deceased is yet to be verified, Bosco said that the deceased was a Nigerian national named Ifa Amado, believed to be in his thirties.
Bosco also accused CCB officials of continuously harassing Africans in the city, to the extent of making Bengaluru "unsafe" for them.
However, speaking to media persons, ACP Hemant Nimbalkar dismissed allegations of the death being a case of custodial torture.