Family simmers in anger over inaction on Kerala man’s death during brawl with cop

32-year-old Sanal Kumar, who died after he was hit by an approaching car during an altercation with a police officer, was cremated behind his house on Tuesday.
Family simmers in anger over inaction on Kerala man’s death during brawl with cop
Family simmers in anger over inaction on Kerala man’s death during brawl with cop
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The eyes of every person gathered at Sanal Kumar’s house in Kodungavilla in Neyyatinkara on Wednesday were welled up, except for Sanal’s wife, Viji. She was neither crying nor speaking to anyone; she sat there numb. Her two sons, Albin and Ebin, who are 3 years and 2 years old, played with each other next to her, oblivious to the fact that their father was no more.

It’s been two days since 32-year-old Sanal Kumar died after he was hit by an approaching car during an altercation with a police officer. Sanal’s body was cremated behind his house on Tuesday. The crowd continued to pour into his house on Wednesday to offer their condolences to his family, who is still under the shock of Sanal’s death.

Sitting next to Sanal’s wife Viji, her aunt Daisy told TNM, “All this media coverage will end in two or three days and they will go after another news. But here is a woman (pointing to Viji), who has to continue to sustain her family without her husband. She doesn’t have a job and to top it all, their family has loans to pay off.”

Viji remained silent all throughout the funeral, as she kept staring at the empty walls.

It has just been five years since Sanal and Viji got married. Sanal’s father had died a year ago. According to his relatives, his father also had loans to repay and he was under a lot of stress during his final days.

“After Sanal’s father passed away, Sanal consoled his mother and said he would take care of the loans," said Soumya.

‘This shouldn’t have happened to Sanal’

From relatives to friends to every person who knew him, all of them had one thing to say about Sanal: “He never refused to help someone in need.”

Soumya, Sanal’s family friend and neighbour, told TNM, “Whenever we needed him, no matter what time of the day or night it is, we could call him and he would come immediately to help us.” She knew Sanal right from his childhood and was almost inconsolable when she said, "Sanal would never hurt an ant and this shouldn’t have happened to him.”

The emotions that can be felt in and around Sanal’s house range from deep sadness to immense anger.

Sanal, who was an electrician from Neyyattikara died on Monday night after he was hit by a car during an altercation with DySP B Harikumar. Witnesses say that Harikumar pushed Sanal on the road, after which a vehicle hit him. The DySP is currently absconding.

The incident took place around 9.45 pm on Monday, when both Sanal Kumar and DySP Harikumar were engaged in a verbal spat over their parked cars. “The DySP couldn’t move his vehicle as the man’s car was parked in front of him. He kicked the car and threw away the key, and that is when the argument heated up,” an officer from the Neyyattinkara police station told TNM on Tuesday.

According to Soumya, Sanal had gone out to have dinner at Kodungavilla junction that night and it was while he was having dinner that the DySP asked him to move his car.

Rajesh, a witness to the incident, told TNM, "Sanal didn’t know that Harikumar was a police officer as he was in mufti. Sanal asked him for a moment as he was going to wash his hands. While Sanal got into the car to move the vehicle, Harikumar banged on his door. After he moved his car, Sanal got out and asked the police officer why he was rude and that he could have asked him politely to move the car. This irked the DySP, who started physically assaulting him. He then pushed Sanal on the road when an approaching car came and hit him,” he said.

‘Justice for Sanal’

As the funeral was underway, there was a meeting happening outside Sanal’s house, where his friends, family members, residents from the neighbourhood and politicians across party lines had gathered to form a council to fight for justice.

“We will go to any extent to get justice for Sanal and his family. The DySP should be arrested,” said an emotional Soumya.

Friends and family of Sanal Kumar, who were present at his house on Wednesday, criticised the police’s inaction. “The police department will do everything possible to protect the DySP, who is accused of the murder,” said Soumya.

This statement found support from several others as well.

Meanwhile, Ani, the secretary of the Kodungavila Resident’s Association, told TNM, “It has been two days since Sanal died and the police have said that a case has been filed. But, not a single police officer has come to Sanal's house or taken any statement from anyone here.”

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