A group of 150 people boycotted Onam celebrations and held a hunger strike in Thoppumpady in Kochi, on Wednesday, protesting against the failure to take action against police officers involved in a case of alleged custodial assault.
Prominent writer MK Sanu, environmentalist CR Neelakandan, Justice PK Shamsudheen and MP KV Thomas attended the hunger strike to express solidarity.
The policemen are said to have beaten up a school bus driver in the first week of July over an allegedly fake complaint of child sexual abuse.
The driver, Suresh, suffered severe damage to his spine, requiring surgery, as a result of the alleged assault by three police officers of the Kochi Harbour police station.
Suresh claimed that after an altercation with one student’s father, the latter filed a fake complaint with the police, claiming that his child was sexually abused by Suresh. On the basis of this complaint, Suresh was arrested and assaulted, he said.
Subsequently, a people’s group (Poura Samithi) was organised to fight for Suresh’s cause, and a complaint was filed with the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA).
“The child has given a statement that he was not abused. It was clear the case against Suresh was fake. Despite knowing that, no action was taken against the accused police officers. They were transferred for the sake of it, as the officers were transferred to nearby police stations,” Raju P Nair, one of the organisers of the hunger strike and a member of the people’s group told The News Minute.
He added that a cleaner who worked on the school bus had also denied the allegation against Suresh.
Chairman of the SPCA, Justice K Narayana Kurup, had also told the media that although one of the officers denied having contact with the student’s father for more than a year, the two had been in contact prior to and after Suresh’s arrest.
The State Human Rights Commission has also ordered a probe into the incident.
The Poura Samithi has declared that they will continue their struggle until Suresh receives justice.