The death of a Pathanamthitta native, which has turned into a controversy in Kerala, took yet another turn on Saturday, with his relatives taking the firm stand that the body won't be buried until the culprits are arrested and an investigation is initiated.
Forty-year-old Mathai was reportedly forcibly taken out of his home in Chittar, Pathanamthitta, by a few officials of the Forest Department on Tuesday.
Hours later, his wife Sheeba and two children were informed that he was found dead in a well on his farm. The farm is located 10 kms away from his home.
A case has been registered at the Chittar police station under 174 of the IPC for unnatural death.
"We won't yield to any kind of pressure for this," Mathai's brother Wilson told the media on Saturday. â€śHe was taken to the forest and beaten. We will continue the fight till we get justice,â€ť he added.
In a press meet held in Pathanamthitta, Sheeba and other relatives asked why no one had been arrested so far.
Sheeba believes that her husband did not take his own life.
"He wonâ€™t ever do it, he is that brave. He is the one who used to give courage to all of us. They (the forest officials) must have done something to them. If he had jumped into the well by himself, why did the officials not save him? Why did they run away instead? It must be because they had done something wrong. They might have beaten him up brutally," she had alleged to the media.
â€śI will persist till the culprits get the highest punishment,â€ť she had added.
The officials of the Forest Department reportedly said that Mathai was booked in a case for allegedly damaging a CCTV camera of the Department in Kudappana. This is around 10 kms from his home.
However, according to the police, the postmortem did not reveal any signs of assault.
â€śThough the report has not yet come, medical experts who held the procedure have said that he died of drowning," an official of the police station told TNM.
Following the allegations, all the seven officials, including the Deputy Range Officer of the Chittar Forest station, have been transferred. The others who have been transferred are three Section Officers, two Beat Forest Officers and one Forest Guard.