The kin of a non-resident Indian chef, who died allegedly after being beaten up in police custody earlier this month, have refused to claim his body from a government morgue until the policemen responsible for his killing are punished. Police have denied the charge of custodial death.
Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Cosme Fernandes, a paternal cousin of the 39-year-old deceased chef Cipriano Fernandes, said his immediately family unanimously decided not to accept the body until ‘justice was done to them’.
‘We will not take over the body until those involved in killing him are punished,’ said Cosme, demanding a judicial probe into the death.
‘Today it has happened to my brother, tomorrow it can be yours. The guilty have to be punished to set a precedent,’ he said.
According to Cosme, Cipriano was picked up by police on the night of Jan 7 under a preventive arrest provision. He was beaten up in the police vehicle and at the Panaji police station, before he was taken to the Goa Medical College nearby and left to die, he alleged.
A woman friend of Cipriano, who was based in Britain and worked on a cruise ship, witnessed the beating, Cosme said.
According to police, they had responded to a call on 100 police helpline number informing them that Cipriano was drunk and was creating a ruckus in Caranzalem, a suburb of Panaji.
Superintendent of Police Arvind Gawas has told the media earlier that Cipriano’s death did not occur in police custody.
The post mortem confirmed six severe injuries on his body and the state government has already initiated a probe headed by a gazetted officer into the incident.
Cosme has demanded that the police station head Sandesh Chodankar and other police officers, including two sub-inspectors, on duty at the time of Cipriano’s death should be suspended. They may tamper with evidence linking them to the ‘custody’ death, he said.