KOCHI: Three policemen were suspended today in connection with the alleged death of a 26-year-old man in police custody in Varappuzha near here, while a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to probe the case.
Ernakulam Rural SP A V George said this after meeting the protesting BJP leaders.
The cadres ended the agitation after the Ernakulam district collector Mohammed informed them that the three policemen, who picked up Sreejith from his home were suspended.
George told reporters that preliminary inquiry revealed that there were instances of official misconduct.
He, however, refused to disclose further details.
Scores of BJP workers blocked the highway throwing traffic out of gear after the party called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal today in Varappuzha Panchayat, protesting the death of Sreejith, who they claimed was a party worker.
The BJP workers said they would continue their agitation till Sreejith's family gets justice.
During the protest, the party workers allegedly manhandled a person who approached them seeking a safe passage for his vehicle carrying a child to a hospital for treatment.
Local BJP leaders, however, rejected allegations of violence during the protest.
Congress workers also took out a march to Varappuzha police station, protesting the incident.
Sreejith, who was taken into custody in connection with the death of a person last week, died in a private hospital last evening.
His relatives alleged that he died due to torture.
Meanwhile, police have rejected the allegation of torture, saying Sreejith was suspected to have suffered injuries during a clash allegedly before he was taken into custody.
Earlier in the day, Kerala Police chief said a Special Investigation Team was constituted to probe the incidents that led to Sreejith's death.
Stepping up its stand against police, acting chairman of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, P Mohanadas, said the policemen involved in the incident should be removed from service.
Mohandas had visited Sreejith yesterday, who had been put on ventilator after an emergency surgery.
A Commission release, quoting hospital authorities, had said Sreejith suffered grievous internal wounds in his stomach and was brought to Aster Medicity hospital.
Sreejith's wife yesterday informed the Commission that she was witness to the torture after policemen in civvies took him into custody from their residence at Varappuzha.
Some persons, including Sreejith, were taken into custody in connection with the death of a 55-year old man, who was found hanging in his house after a group of miscreants attacked his house on Friday last.
Sreejith was taken into custody based on the complaint filed by the deceased's son, police said.
Meanwhile, a medical report from the hospital, where he was treated said Sreejith was admitted through the emergency department with history of blunt abdominal injury.
He was in septesaemic shock and was resuscitated in the emergency department and was taken up for emergency surgery.
During the next two days in the ICU, the patient progressively deteriorated and was on very high dose of drugs to support his blood pressures.
"At around 5.30 pm yesterday evening he had a cardiac arrest...The team tried to revive him for almost one hour and then gave up," it said.