Two policemen and as many protesters sustained head injuries in the melee. Five men have been detained.
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai defended police lathicharge since those involved in drug racket ‘behave violently’ and said the CID will probe the incident. “When protesters tried to assault cops, the latter took the correct action,” he added.
City police commissioner Kamal Pant said the the probe will follow NHRC guidelines in such cases. DCP (North) Dharmender Kumar Meena said they caned the protesters when they attacked cops.
The protesters were making false allegations that the Congo national, arrested on drugpeddling charges, was beaten up by police. The doctors say he died of cardiac arrest and there were no physical injuries. An investigation will reveal the reason behind the death. But the protesters started making false statements and attacked our men,” he said.
According to Meena, Joan alias Joel Shindani Malu was caught with 5gm of MDMA tablets at Babusapalya, Hennur, around Sunday midnight. While his associate sped away on a gearless scooter, John was brought to the police station around 2am Monday. “An FIR under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was registered at the station. Later, John was kept there for want of ascertaining his identity and legal action. At 5.10am, staff at the station informed sub-inspector Raghupati, who had arrested John, that the detainee was complaining of chest pain. Raghupati shifted him to Chiraayu Hospital at 5.30am. On preliminary examination, he was diagnosed with bradycardia and administrated CPR and other lifesaving interventions. At 6.45am, he was declared dead due to suspected cardiac arrest,” Meena said.
Another officer said John was overstaying his passport, which had expired in December 2017. “John was into drug-peddling and we wanted to catch him red-handed. And we did. Unfortunately, he died,” a senior cop said.
Bosco Kaweesi, a legal adviser, All Africa Students’ Association, said, “It is unfortunate our men took the wrong step by provoking police for no reason. Police contacted me at 4am saying they have arrested John on drug-peddling charges. They updated me when he developed chest pain and was shifted to hospital.”
Bosco claimed he was in the station throughout the day and was working with the cops on the issue. “Initially, cops were cooperative with us, but they lost patience when our men behaved improperly. If our people have any doubt on the cause of death, we should wait till the postmortem report comes. If we have evidence against cops, we must approach the embassy and not create ruckus on the road,” he said.