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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Congolese national’s alleged custodial death: CID to probe, protest turns violent in Bengaluru

Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said one of the protesters assaulted an officer, which resulted in the lathi charge. No one sustained major injuries.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 3, 2021 12:17:15 pm
Death of congo national, custodial death, bengaluru protests, Indian express, indian express news, cidCity Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said a case has been registered against protesters for attacking an officer and a probe is on. (ANI)

A day after the alleged custodial death of a Congolese national, a demonstration by African nationals in front of the JC Nagar police station in Bengaluru turned violent Monday when the police conducted a lathi charge.

City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said one of the protesters assaulted an officer, which resulted in the lathi charge. No one sustained major injuries. Pant said a case has been registered against protesters for attacking the officer and a probe is on.

According to the police, Joel Shindani Malu, 27, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was detained early Monday morning for allegedly possessing narcotic substances. In custody a couple of hours later, he complained of chest pain and was rushed to a private hospital where he died allegedly of cardiac arrest.

DCP North Dharmender Kumar Meena said that police had laid a trap to apprehend Joel based on a credible tip around 10:30 pm Sunday near 10th cross Banjara Layout in the northern part of the city.

“The police team kept watch and waited till 12:30 am Monday. Due to the sudden arrival of regular police patrolling van, ‘Hosyala’ to the said place, drug peddler Joel changed the location of trade to Babusah Palya locality in Hennur police station limits. At 12:30 AM, once the police informant identified the pillion rider as Joel, the policeman apprehended him. In that scuffle as Joel was trying to flee, a few small plastic packets containing a white colour substance fell on the ground which was suspected to be narcotics. On enquiry, he refused to give details or produce any document regarding his identity. On enquiry of suspicious substance, he confessed it to be MDMA substance meant for peddling. Another foreign national who was riding the bike escaped during the scuffle,” claimed Meena.

The police sub-inspector from JC Nagar and the rest of the team brought Joel to the station along with seized suspected narcotics and his bike at around 2:15 am Monday. Joel was kept at the police station for want of ascertaining his identity, further enquiry and legal action.

“At approximately 5:10 am on Monday, in-charge police officials informed the police sub-inspector(PSI) that Joel was complaining of chest pain. PSI immediately acted on this information and shifted him to nearby Chiraayu Hospital for treatment at approx 5:30 AM. On preliminary medical examination, he was diagnosed with Bradycardia and administered several rounds of CPR and other life-saving interventions. At around 6:45 AM, he was declared dead due to suspected cardiac arrest,” Meena said.

A case of unnatural death under section 176 of the CrPC has been filed, said the officer.

“Joel had come to Bengaluru on a student visa and as per our preliminary investigation details, his student visa expired on 20/07/2015 and his passport expired on 13/12/2017. The investigation in UDR No 19/2021 under 176 CrPC is being conducted as per guidelines laid down by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),” Meena said.

“The death (of Joel) happened due to his health problems. The case (of his death) will be investigated by Karnataka Crime Investigation Department (CID),” said Pant.

At 6 pm Monday, a team of CID officers arrived at the JC Nagar station and took statements of both African nationals and the cops.

Meanwhile, one of the protesters who claimed to be Joel’s friend told reporters outside the police station Monday that Joel was celebrating a birthday party of his friend Torres at their house in Hennur when the police raided the spot and picked him up. “Joel’s wife was also with him when he was detained,” he said. Calls to the president of the Pan African Federation in Bengaluru for a response on the case went unanswered.

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