Video of teenager pleading with police to let him bury his father sparks outrage
A video of a teenager pleading with police officers to allow him to bury his father has sparked outrage in Kerala after the clip went viral on social media.
The boy’s parents had ‘accidentally’ sacrificed themselves on December 22 in Neyyatinkara in Thiruvananthapuram after police came to their home to evict them following a court order.
Battling severe burns, the father died on Sunday and the mother on Tuesday.
When the son was digging the grave for his father, the police stopped him, saying that it was against the court order. “You were responsible for my father’s death. He asked me to bury him alone here. Let him rest in peace for now, ”the 16-year-old is heard saying on video.
According to local people, the family was staying in a two-room shack that was supposedly built on overrun land. The father was involved in litigation with a neighbor for five years and a local court in Neyyatinkara had ordered him to evacuate the land in June.
On December 22, when police and tax officials arrived at his home, kerosene was poured on him and his wife and threatened to ignite if forced out.
His children later said it was just a threat and police officers escalated the situation and in the ensuing fight, their bodies suddenly caught fire.
A police officer also received minor burn injuries while trying to save them. In the final statement, the boy’s father told a magistrate that “he was only threatening and that the police officers were responsible for the accidental fire.”
Local people said that despite his poor background, he used to distribute free food to urchins in the area almost every day.
Although police denied any involvement and said the couple were accidentally burned, the embarrassed government ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to their deaths. The state human rights commission has also asked the police to present a report. The government said a new house will be built that will pay for the education costs of the 16 and 19 year olds.
The higher court had suspended the evacuation order from the lower court, but it did not reach the family in time.
The leader of the state opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, has called on the government to take action against police officers who make mistakes and who allegedly led them to their deaths.
Many organizations and leaders are committed to helping children. The mother will be buried near the same grave later that day.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera has asked Thiruvananthapuram Rural Police Superintendent B Ashokan to report as soon as possible.