01/25/2018, 09.36
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Kerala: 800-day sit-in to demand justice for brother 'killed' in custody

SR Sreejith has become a "hero" on social media. The hashtag "#JusticeForSreejith" has received thousands of shares. The 26-year-old brother beaten up by agents, perhaps to punish him for a relationship with one of the officer’s fiancé.

Trivandrum (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Indian man has been sitting for nearly 800 days in front of the Kerala state secretariat waiting for justice to be done for his brother, who died in police custody.

This is the story of SR Sreejith, who remained unknown for most of the time, until his personal story appeared on social media and attracted the attention of many well-known faces from the world of sport and Bollywood.

Pressure has led the administration open an internal police investigation. But for Sreejith - and for many others who now sit next to him - it's not enough. He has also started a hunger strike and will stop only when the federal investigation office begins investigations.

On the social media the hashtag "#JusticeForSreejith" is trending with many new followers. The song with the same title written by Godi Sundar, a famous Indian composer, has received millions of views since it was uploaded on Youtube on January 17th.

The protest began on May 22, 2015 in front of the Trivandrum government office. Sitting on a simple carpet and with a small shelter, he has withstood the suffocating heat and the monsoon rains. He reports that he sometimes finds shelter in nearby stores, but more often he waits patiently for the rains and winds to pass.

The reason for his sit-in is justice for his younger brother Sreejeev, 26, who died in mysterious circumstances in the government hospital. The young man had been arrested a few days before by the agents for the alleged theft of a cell phone.

According to the policemen, Sreejeev attempted suicide. The brother's version is completely opposite: Sreejith, believes his brother was beaten up by the police and died of his injuries. His only "fault" was a romantic relationship with a woman (future bride) of one of the agents, who could not tolerate the betrayal.

Sreejith says he tried to approach his brother while "he was tied to the hospital bed. He wanted to tell me something. He wore an oxygen mask and had clear bruises all over his body. The police watched him and prevented me from approaching him. "


The popularity gained thanks to social networks has prompted the State Assembly to request the initiation of internal investigations. On the contrary, the demonstrator does not trust the police and wants the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is federal to led any inquiry. Despite weighing now only 49 kilos, a few weeks ago he decided to start a hunger strike. Several people have joined him in a sort of "fasting relay", in which they renounce either water or food.

Sreejith's hopes could come soon: last week the Kerala High Court decided to transfer the case to the CBI. "I will interrupt the protest - says the social media hero  - only when the agency really starts the investigation".

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