“It’s something really unusual. He was killed like a fly by them. I’ve been with him as a friend rather than a brother. I remember him most of the time, and he has always been with me.” – Sreejith spoke to a media journalist, 760 days after starting his protest.
This young man had a close-knit brother, Sreejeev, who died at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College on May 21, 2014. He was accused for theft and got arrested by the police. The world hasn’t seen him alive since then.
According to the police, Sreejeev had ensconced poison in his garments and tried to commit suicide, consuming it while in custody. According to them, they rushed him to the medical facility, but were unable to save him.
But the wounds on his body and testicles told a different story. Sreejith adds, “The mask on the face was full of blood. It looked like he was drowned in the water.”
The State Police Complaints Authority investigated the same when the incident was portrayed as a ‘lockup death’. According to the report, the then Parassala circle inspector Gopakumar and assistant sub-inspector Philippose had beaten him mercilessly. Civil police officers Pratapachandran and Vijayadas had joined them in this vicious act. Additionally, the report stated that sub inspector D Bijukar manipulated the mahassar and created a false record. The Police Complaints Authority had suggested to re-investigate the case – but that hasn’t materialised till date, it seems.
Sreejith was too affectionate with his younger brother. The young man became a one-man army to bring the alleged murderers of his brother to the law. He landed on the pedestrian path in front of the State Secretariat more than 760 days ago.
In the meantime, he held days-long hunger strikes. Sreejith is still in the midst of a hunger strike. This young man believes that it will be a defeat, if he dies of hunger without justice being served. So, he does have food once a day, every week, to keep himself alive. During the rest of the days, he calls for a strike. He is determined and willing to fight for his brother.
Sreejith and Sreejeev were brothers who walked in and out of the house as friends. One is in a deep stress, as the other has vanished leaving only memories behind. The young man harasses himself by starving and exposing himself to the rain, sunshine, cold and wind.
Now, he has a serious issue to add to his health issues. While talking, he suddenly lapses into thoughts, and sometimes misses the conversation. After all, these 760+ days have started to eat into his memories.
He has the permission to tent the space, but he is not ready for that. Sreejith sits there, with an almond planted in a thin bottle in memory of his beloved brother. It grows quietly.
Sreejith draws images of Buddha on the canvas of the abandoned pluck cards and flex sheets. Buddha’s portrait, having an yellow speck in the forehead, is everywhere around him – just like the one in the picture of his brother.
However, in all other regards, Sreejith is a very healthy young man. “Mother always come here and weeps. I think about going back home – to care about my mother and slowly returning to my past life. But only after my brother gets justice.”– he adds. Even he dies here, he is not willing to give up.
“Even if I die, there will be a change! Strong ones will come and bear the torch I lit.” – strong words come out of his weak body.
However, if he just sits there and dies, we are all going to be defeated. Yes – “if he dies there, we are all responsible!”