Hundreds of people came to support Sreejith, who has been protesting for over 700 days
Hundreds of young people from across Kerala mobilised by a campaign on social media -- #JusticeForSreejith -- gathered outside the Kerala secretariat. From students to young professionals, they stood in support for 29-year-old Sreejith, who has been holding a protest for over 700 days, demanding action against policemen after his brother allegedly died in their custody in 2014.
"I read about Sreejith on social media while in Dammam. And I decided when I return to Trivandrum, I am going to meet Sreejith," said Tesin Joseph, a pilot, who came to the protest site. "It's wonderful to see so many people who have gathered in solidarity. This is a warning to politicians on the consequences of not standing up for common citizens."
Anjali Vasudevan, a student, had met with Sreejith before while passing by the secretariat. "We keep passing this way. We keep seeing him. Be it rain or sun... He is just there. We spoke to him once and he told us about his fight for justice," the student said.
A dentist said she came all the way from Kollam to state capital Thiruvananthapuram, 65 kilometres apart, to support the man who has been seeking justice for the alleged custodial death of his brother. "This can happen to anyone and he should not be alone in this," dentist Meera Nair said.
Sreejith said he is overwhelmed with the support, adding he will continue with his hunger protest of over 30 days till the CBI investigates the case. The Central Bureau of Investigation has already declined to probe the case.
Sreejith's mother Ramani P was seen sitting next to him, surrounded by a group of young people. "I thought I will even lose this son of mine. Only now, after all this support, I am getting confident of justice. We want CBI probe," she said.
Despite a Police Complaints Authority report indicting the state police of custodial torture, the state police maintained that the brother died after consuming poison soon after he was arrested.
The Left government in Kerala has said it will now petition the central government again for a CBI probe. It has also said it will challenge the high court's order which ordered action against police personnel to be stopped.