Alcoholism or torture? What do we know about a UP man who died hours after police questioning

The bluish marks on the corpse of Jitendra Srivastav alias Kallu | By special arrangement

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New Delhi: On November 12, Jitendra Srivastav aka Kallu was arrested at Kalyanpur Police Station in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, after his neighbor YS Dixit accused him of stealing Rs 20 lakh. Shortly after his visit to the station, Kallu complained of an upset stomach, and on the evening of November 15, he died on his way to the hospital.

Shortly after, the news cited Kallu’s family members as alleging his death was caused by police brutality. Images of the man’s corpse, with bluish markings visible on his back, were also shared widely on social media.

Meanwhile, an FIR in connection with Kallu’s death has been filed against Dixit under Articles 302 (murder) and 504 of the IPC (intentional insult with intent to cause a breach of public order).

Following the autopsy, however, police said Kallu died of “natural” causes, possibly precipitated by his suspected alcoholism. They also released Dixit, who had been held for questioning as a result of the FIR.

Speaking to ThePrint, Kallu’s sister Poonam said he denied being subjected to police brutality but added that his health deteriorated at the station. The family say they saw the “livid marks” on September 16, after the body was kept in their home overnight.

The family, Poonam said, want punishment for Dixit – because “it was because of him that Kallu couldn’t get home or get proper care” – and “anyone else responsible” for the death. of his brother.

Read also: UP police paid family Rs 5L for ‘clean token’ in death of Muslim man in custody, cousin says

The circumstances of the death

Kallu, who worked as a security guard in Daman but was at home for the holiday season, was taken to the police station around 1:30 p.m. on November 12 and stayed there for several hours, Poonam said.

“We went to pick him up around 10 pm. When we met him he complained of an upset stomach and kept saying he was afraid Dixit would do something to him, ”she said.

According to Poonam, Kallu informed the family that the police had told him not to return home for his own “safety” and that Dixit – with whom the family has a history of discord – may file another complaint against him.

Kallu was then sent by his family to a nearby hotel, where his physical health reportedly continued to deteriorate, his sister said.

On November 14, according to Kallu’s family and police, he was taken to a doctor, Vinod Tripathi, who asked him to see a specialist and do an ultrasound.

In a statement viewed by ThePrint, the doctor said Kallu’s stomach was “swollen” and told her that her alcohol consumption increased after Diwali. “The doctor gave him medicine and told us to go to a bigger hospital,” Poonam said.

The next day, Kallu died on the way to the hospital. When asked if the family noticed any injuries on his body at the time, Poonam said no.

“We asked him if the police had beaten him, and he said no. There was no wound on his body. We only saw these marks after the media arrived on November 16. The body remained in the house overnight, ”she said.

What the autopsy report says

ThePrint accessed Kallu’s autopsy report, which was conducted on November 16. The report states that the immediate cause of death is “shock” due to “perforation and peritonitis”.

“Perforation” refers to to a hole in the wall of an organ in the body. Peritonitis is described such as “redness and swelling (inflammation) of the tissue (peritoneum) that lines your belly or abdomen”. Infection due to end-stage liver disease, in which excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor, is among identified causes of peritonitis.

The report also mentions “no abnormalities detected” in terms of ante-mortem injuries.

From general external appearances, the report states that “several dark reddish spots are present on the back, no blood collection was observed during dissection. Distended abdomen ”.

Kanpur Nagar Police Commissioner Asim Arun told ThePrint that there was no foul play.

“If a person has liver problems, often due to alcohol consumption, it leads to peritonitis. The contents of the intestine seep into the abdominal cavity. In short, the doctors confirmed it was a natural death, ”he said. Deputy Police Commissioner (West) BBGTS Murthy reiterated this, adding that the autopsy was videotaped.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said Kallu’s death was due to alcoholism.

“The police spoke to the medical team. He had not taken treatment for a long time, which resulted in a perforation of the intestine, ”he said.

According to forensic experts, the marks on Kallu’s back were due to “postmortem hypostasis,” also known as postmortem staining.

Former AIIMS director and forensic expert Dr TD Dogra told ThePrint that this is a normal change that occurs in cadavers.

“The blood gravitates in the most dependent part of the body [like the back] and gathers there. Often this is interpreted as an “injury”, ”he said. Another senior medical examiner who declined to be named said these marks occur on the back after four to six hours of death when the body was lying on a surface.

Based on the results of Kallu’s autopsy, Dr Dogra said “puncture” can refer to a hole in the intestine. “The reasons can be multiple – traumatic (injuries like with a knife), spontaneous and underlying health problems (ulceration). Shock refers to circulatory failure.

Read also: Twist in Kasganj custody death case, missing Hindu girl found by police is not a minor

The family still have questions

ThePrint asked Poonam if the family believed Kallu had been subjected to torture in detention.

“He didn’t say he was beaten by the police. Just that he was afraid. We have lost our brother. We want justice, Dixit should be punished and anyone else responsible should be held accountable as well. ”

According to her, Kallu could not “go home or receive proper care” because of Dixit.

She said the family dispute with Dixit started last year. “We did not have a bathroom / toilet inside our house. When we went to the one outside, Dixit would take videos and photographs and tease us, ”she said.

A senior police officer familiar with the case said investigations into the family’s allegations were ongoing.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

Read also: There were 300 deaths in custody from 2008 to 2016, but no convictions

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