CBI to probe Sreejeev's death, brother Sreejith won't call off protest yet

Sreejith, who has been protesting for 771 days, also demands that the police personnel responsible for his brother’s death be suspended.
 CBI to probe Sreejeev's death, brother Sreejith won't call off protest yet
CBI to probe Sreejeev's death, brother Sreejith won't call off protest yet
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The CBI will probe the death of 25-year-old Sreejeev, who died in police custody in 2015. For nearly 800 days, Sreejith, the brother of Sreejeev has been protesting in front of the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram demanding a CBI probe into the case. 

On Friday morning, the state government handed over a draft letter of the CBI's willingness to probe the case. Chief Minister's Private Secretary MV Jayarajan and CPI (M) leader and former MLA V Sivankutty came to the protest venue of Sreejith.

However, Sreejith and his mother Remani refuse to end their protest until the CBI begins its probe. They also demand that the police personnel responsible for Sreejeev’s death be suspended, Remani told the media.  

Sreejith and Remani are, however, firm on their stand that they need the assurance in writing to end the protest. However, their demand to keep away the police personnel from service is possible only if the Kerala High Court vacates the stay filed by them against it. 

"We need to see that the probe actually begins to end the protest. My son's health has deteriorated after being on protest for so long. We want justice," she said.

On Monday Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on meeting Sreejith and Remani had assured them that he would once again write to the Centre urging the CBI to reconsider its decision. The next day, the CM wrote to the Centre urging the CBI to take over the case.

Earlier this month, the CBI had said that they won't probe the case as it did not fall under the rarest of the rare.

In May 2014, Sreejith’s brother Sreejeev was taken into custody by the Parassala police on allegations of theft. Days later, Sreejeev died in a hospital. While police officials maintain that Sreejeev consumed poison, his family accused the officers of murder and cited custodial torture as the reason for his death.

In 2016, the Police Complaint Authority (PCA) in its investigation found the police officials guilty of assaulting Sreejeev in custody. 

The report submitted by the PCA found the police version to be false and came to the conclusion that Sreejeev had indeed died of custodial torture. The probe found that Circle Inspector Gopakumar and ASI Philipose thrashed Sreejeev and made him drink poison. 

In September 2016, the Kerala government asked the Director General of Police to hand over the probe to a Special Investigations Team (SIT). 

Meanwhile, Sreejith and his family were given a compensation of Rs 10 lakh by the government. Sreejith, however, began his protest in 2015 demanding that action be taken against the police officers responsible for his brother's death. 

In November 2017, Sreejith was informed of a CBI enquiry into the case from the Home Department. However, the CBI communicated to the Kerala government that it would not probe the case.

On January 2, 2018, the state government received a letter from CBI stating that this was not a case of 'rare and exceptional nature warranting an investigation by the CBI'.

Sreejith's protest has received wide support with several prominent voices demanding justice for his younger brother. 

“In the wake of the issue raising immense public interest on humanitarian grounds, I solicit your urgent intervention in the matter by way of expediting the CBI investigation and enquiry of the alleged ‘custodial death’ of Sreejeev.” Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar wrote in his letter to the Home Minister.

Actors Nivin Pauly, Tovinio Thomas, Prithviraj, Parvathy were among the voices who lent support to Sreejith. A parallel social media campaign had also began, as word spread about Sreejith's perseverance. As #JusticeForSreejith gained momentum on social media, users called for people to come out in support of Sreejith. Last Sunday, thousands of people came to to the protest venue in solidarity with Sreejith. 

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