The family of Sreejith, the victim of alleged custodial torture, now has another reason to worry. On Friday, the family received an anonymous letter, threatening them to withdraw the complaint they filed or face consequences.
The letter says that if the complaint is not withdrawn, Sajith, Sreejith’s younger brother, would face the same fate. The letter addressed to Sreejith’s mother Syamala, was delivered via registered post.
The family has lodged a complaint with the Varapuzha Police Station. This is the second such letter that the family has received.
The letter says that it has been written by Jayan, Suni Lal and Shibu, who claim to be a part of a ‘Shadow Squad’ formed under the Thiruvananthapuram Rural SP.
“Don’t think that you have won simply because three policemen of the Tiger Force were arrested. You can inquire about us in Thiruvananthapuram Rural. If you ask those who have complained against the Shadow Squad, they will tell you about torture methods like uruttal (rolling wooden or iron rod on the body), spraying of chilly powder, beating someone up with a coconut and so on. Since we don’t have the right to kill someone, we torture people to the level to make them like dead bodies,” the letter says.
It also warns the reader not to dare to go against them with the help of the media, for the media and even the government couldn’t even touch them in the previous incidents.
“If you obey what we say, we will extend any help to you. If you act on the contrary, bear in mind that only the Tiger Squad has been dissolved. There are squads in all other districts,” the letter says.
The first letter was delivered via ordinary post ten days ago. Both letters have the same content.
Renjith, Sreejith’s elder brother, says that the family is afraid after receiving the second letter.
“Let the police inquire and find the truth, especially because the letter is said to be written by police personnel,” he says.
It was the police personnel of the Rural Tiger Force, a special team under former Aluva Rural SP AV George who took Sreejith into custody. Following the death of Sreejith, the RTF was disbanded and George was transferred.
“Sreejith’s wife, mother and the local people repeatedly pleaded with the police not to take him into custody, as he was not the accused in the case. But it was AV George’s direction to target Sreejith, which is mysterious. There was no reason at all for George to have any kind of vengeance towards Sreejith, as he didn’t have any affiliation with any particular political party. Everyone related to this case should be brought before the law,” says Sreejith’s father-in-law Pradeep.
26-year-old Sreejith, who hailed from Varapuzha near Aluva, was arrested on April 7 after 56-year-old Vasudevan, a man who lived near his house, hanged himself to death after a group of men came to his house and threatened him.
Sreejith was falsely accused as one of the men who threatened Vasudevan. A special squad of policemen took into custody Sreejith and nine more people and charged them with abetment to suicide and rioting. Sajith was also taken into custody in the case.
Subsequently, Sreejith was brought to a hospital near Aluva and died on April 9.
The case triggered massive public outrage, and five policemen, including Varappuzha Sub-Inspector Deepak and Circle Inspector Crispin Sam, were arrested.
Sreejith’s wife Akhila has approached the High Court, seeking a CBI investigation into Sreejith's death.