800 days later, Sreejith ends protest demanding justice for his brother after statement to CBI

Sreejith's brother had been killed in police custody in May 2014.

800 days later, Sreejith ends protest demanding justice for his brother after statement to CBI
Sreejith had his statement recorded by the CBI on Wednesday. (File picture: Twitter/@ANI)

He sat outside the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram for everyday for 800 days. On Wednesday, Sreejith's ended his protest, but only after having his statement on his brother's custodial death recorded by the CBI.

Sreejith's protest was in demand for exactly this - a CBI inquiry into his brother Sreejeev's death in police custody. And the inquiry finally came, after about three weeks of an outpouring of public support for Sreejith and his cause - both online and in the real world.

Sreejeev had died in May 2014, just days after he had been taken by the police in Parassala. The cops had picked him up on suspicion of involvement in a robbery. Police had at the time said Sreejeev had committed suicide by ingesting poison. 

But Sreejith did not buy it. Accusing the police of murdering his brother, Sreejith began his sit-in protest outside the Secretariat, demanding action against the two police officials responsible for his brother's death.

Two years after Sreejeev's death, Kerala's Police Complaints Commission said that the police version of events was false. The probe concluded that two police officials had thrashed Sreejeev in the police station and had then fed him poison.

The Police Complaints Commission recommended to the Kerala government that the probe into the custodial death be handed over to a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The Kerala government paid Sreejith and his family Rs 10 lakh as compensation. And in November 2017, the state government told him that it had asked the CBI to investigate the case.

But the CBI refused to take the probe forward on the grounds that considering the ruling of the Police Complaints Commission that Sreejeev's death was custodial, there was no exceptional circumstance for it to investigate it.

Sreejith persisted. In mid-January, his protest caught public attention. This led to an outpouring of support. A number of public faces, including film stars like Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj and Parvathy Omanakuttan, expressed their support.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met Sreejith and his mother on January 14, and promised that he would again write to the CBI to take up the case. It was only after the CM's promise came through that Sreejith went home.

(With inputs from ANI)

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