Pratheesh had been taken into custody by the same cop who had harassed him earlier.

 Journalist targeted for pulling up Kerala cop Spends night in jail for nuisancePratheesh Rema Facebook Page
news Harassment Friday, December 22, 2017 - 17:04

Kochi journalist Pratheesh Rema’s brushes with the law don’t seem to end. Pratheesh, who had been taken into custody and allegedly been beaten up by the Ernakulam Town police a few weeks ago, was again taken into custody on Thursday night. This time, too, he was allegedly beaten up by the same police.

Though he was let off on bail, the act has sparked outrage, as his friends believe that is a reaction to Pratheesh filing a complaint against them for the previous incident.

Read: For being on the street at night, Kerala woman and her friend get harassed by cops

According to Asok, a colleague and friend of Pratheesh, the police entered Pratheesh’s house at Kaloor in Kochi around 11 pm on Thursday night.

Pratheesh, who is working with the Narada News portal, shares the house with a few of his friends. Yasir, another colleague of Pratheesh, said that the police brutally beat up Pratheesh before letting him off on Friday morning.

Pratheesh and three of his friends - two female and one male - had been sitting at his residence in Kaloor. Lasar Shine, a friend of Pratheesh told TNM believes what happened on Thursday night was pre-planned.

“A group of people who claimed to be local residents suddenly gathered near the home. Councilor Aristotle was also with them. They had apparently called up the police, asking them to reach the spot as something immoral was happening in the house. It seemed that the entire thing was all part of a conspiracy. Pratheesh has been living in the house for four years and it was not the first time that his friends, male or female were visiting him. He also shares a good relationship with the house owner,” Lasar said.

Things soon took a turn for the worse.

“Pratheesh came out of the house and the people were angry at him. Soon, Town Police Station House Officer Vipin Das reached the spot. Vipin Das is the who had dealt the first incident and the one who sent Amrutha with her parents. He dragged Pratheesh and took him to the police station. This time also he was beaten up. Vipin even told Pratheesh that it was because of god that Pratheesh was once again in his custody, and even asked him to quit his job,” Lasar added.

A man named Innocent, who claimed to be a local resident, was admitted to the hospital as he allegedly after beaten by Pratheesh. “He was forcefully admitted at the General Hospital. He was not keen to give a complaint, but the police were eager to take his statement immediately,” Lasar said.

Vipin, however, said that Pratheesh was arrested only as per the complaint of locals, who said that he was creating nuisance.

“They were all drunk and had used drugs. They were creating noise, which led to people, led by the local Councilor, to complain about him. When the locals questioned the noise, it ended in a fight and Pratheesh attacked one of the locals. He is trying to shield himself using the cover of a journalist,” Vipin said.

“We have no plan to waste our time for such things unless we get a complaint from people. We have a lot of other things to do. The locals are now angry with the police for imposing only bailable section on him,” he added.

Pratheesh was unavailable for comment.

Pratheesh’s friends, however, believe that this is the police retaliating. Pratheesh and Amrutha had given a complaint to the Chief Minister, the State Human Rights Commission and the State Women’s Commission about the earlier incident, and were keen to give statements and follow up.

“Top police officials have been collecting evidence in the case, which could put Vipin Das in trouble. He was aware of this. Now, he has challenged the Home Department with his latest move and the government should take note of it,” Lasar said. 

On November 30, Pratheesh and his friend Amrutha had been taken into custody by the same police on after a patrolling team saw Amrutha walking alone late in the night. She was on her way to the railway station at the time and had just left after meeting Pratheesh and another friend at Pratheesh’s home. Pratheesh and Amrutha were taken into custody, and Pratheesh had been allegedly beaten up then. The police even tried to force the two to take a medical test.

This incident had then evoked much outrage, and even a protest called ‘Freedom to Walk at Night’ was held on December 5. 

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