While the Kerala Police Chief Lokanath Behera has directed the Rural SP to conduct a probe on the involvement of police in the case of Rajan and Ambili, the Neyyatinkara police officials in the meantime have made matter scomplicated (read worse). They filed a joint FIR against the deceased Rajan for suicide and for disrupting court procedure.
The first of the two was filed suo moto by the police despite the application of suicide and attempt to suicide being limited within the legal scope. The second was filed “based on the statement of Advocate Commissioner” but it isn’t very straightforward either. The police had come to evict them following the eviction order released by the Munsif Court. However, the case had been heard in the High Court and the police had allegedly come to evict them much before the Court had released the order staying the eviction until a further hearing on January 4.
Rajan and his family were staying in a temporary shed that was built on disputed land. The court had ordered the family be evicted from the land following a complaint lodged by their neighbour Vasantha. Rajan and his wife threatened to kill themselves with immolation, holding a lighter in their hand. However, when the police tried to strike the lighter away from Rajan’s hand, they hit the lighter and the couple burned. In their plea against the police and others, the children claim that the officer struck the lighter intending to burn their parents. This was when the officials tried to evict them forcibly on December 22. While Rajan, who suffered above 50 per cent burns, passed away on Sunday, Ambili succumbed to injuries on Monday. Rajan’s statement that he had not tried to set himself on fire and that it spread when the policeman tried to snatch the lighter away from him had grabbed headlines.
The issue seems to have taken a complicated route here. While the Rural SP will be investigating the policemen’s alleged part in Rajan and Ambili’s death, the Neyyatinkara police have filed a case calling it a suicide. The children’s plea and the video evidence directly claim that the suicide was a “last resort of sorts” to keep the police from evicting them. However, the video also shows the fire starting as soon as the police officer’s hand hits the lighter in Rajan’s hand.
Rajan and Ambili’s children came down heavily against the police on social media. Ranjith said that the police arrived while the family was about to dine. Although the family had requested 30 minutes, it was denied. After Rajan’s death, there were issues with burying his body in the disputed land. However, after public interference, the police allowed Rajan’s body to be buried on the land.
Meanwhile, Vasantha has been taken into police custody following widespread protests from the public and shifted her to another place. The State Human Rights Commission has ordered a detailed inquiry into the allegations of gross negligence on the part of the police offers who did not act per the circumstances in the incident in which the couple died. Kerala Commission for Protection of Child Rights has registered a suo moto case over the incident.
Today, the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Navjot Singh Khosa will submit the report on the death of Neyyatinkara couple Rajan Ambili — they died after suffering burn injuries following a botched eviction by the police. In the report, the Collector will likely mention the steps to be taken on the rehabilitation and education of the deceased couple’s two children — Renjith and Rahul.