Thousands of people thronged the streets of Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday morning, as they came out in support of Sreejith, who has been protesting outside the Secretariat for the past 765 days.
"We want justice," echoed outside the Secretariat as people from across the district took to the streets, to express their solidarity with Sreejith who has been protesting inaction against police officials allegedly responsible for his younger brother Sreejev's death in police custody.
After a news channel reported on Sreejith's plight recently, political parties were quick to hijack the protest on Saturday.
However, 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.
Even troll pages including International Chalu Union (ICU) and Troll Malayalam had shared Sreejith's struggle and urged people to not end their solidarity with social media campaigns, but to urge the public representatives to speak up for Sreejith and ensure his family gets justice.
On Sunday morning, among the slogans heard at the protest venue, was "We want justice" being chanted loud and clear, promising Sreejith all their support. Notably, the rally was an unorganised one, with people from various walks of live turning up to show their solidarity.
Rally in Thiruvananthapuram demanding justice for Sreejith whose brother died in police custody in 2014Posted by TheNewsMinute on Saturday, 13 January 2018
Leading Malayalam actor Tovino Thomas too joined the massive rally and met Sreejith outside the secretariat. The actor spent more than an hour with Sreejith, assuring his unconditional support.
Speaking to the media, Tovino said that he was there to extend his support to Sreejith, since his "cause was genuine."
"I came to know about Sreejith's protest a couple of days ago. I realise I came to know of it late, but nevertheless, I am here today to support him. This young man has been sitting here for the past 700 odd days, in a peaceful protest. A person wouldn't do that without a genuine cause. If more people would know of Sreejith's struggle because I have come here, let it be," Tovino said.
Online petitions seeking justice for Sreejith has also been floated. A Change.org petition that was floated recently, has asked for the case to be investigated and to deliver punishment for the culprits.
Sreejith has been protesting outside the Kerala Secretaraiat for 765 days, demanding justice for his younger brother, who was killed in police custody.
Sreejeev was picked up by the Parassala police in May 2014 on allegations of theft. Days after this, he breathed his last at a hospital. While the police claimed that Sreejeev had consumed poison, Sreejith alleges that the police murdered his brother.
Two years later in 2016, the Police Complaints Authority 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. The Police Complaints Authority also said that these policemen had the support of two civil officers.
In September 2016, the Kerala government asked the Director General of Police to hand over the probe to a Special Investigations Team.
Although Sreejith and his mother Ramani got Rs 10 lakh as compensation from the state government, Sreejith has been protesting since 2015, demanding action against the police officers responsible for his brother's death.
In November, Sreejith received a communication from the Home department, informing him about a CBI inquiry into Sreejeev's death. But it came to light just this week that the CBI had refused to probe Sreejeev's death and had informed the Kerala government on December 12, 2017.