The family of Vishwanathan, an Adivasi man who was found dead after being attacked by a mob in Kozhikode in Kerala, joined a massive rally in Wayanad district to demand justice for the tribal man.
The Fraternity Movement organized the protest march to Wayanad Collectorate on 8 March, which saw hundreds of people participating.
During the rally, Patta, Vishwanathan’s mother, spoke out about her son’s death, stating, “It’s not a suicide, it’s a murder. They hanged him.”
Vishwanathan’s brother, Vinod, alleged that police officers at the Kalpatta police station are attempting to label him as a Maoist for advocating for justice in his brother’s case.
Vinod also claimed that CPIM workers tried to prevent the family from participating in the protest.
Despite the obstacles, the family and hundreds of Fraternity Movement members chanted slogans condemning the state government’s inaction in the case and asserting that “Adivasi lives matter.”
Surendran Kurippuzha, the vice president of the Welfare Party of India’s state branch, inaugurated the rally, while KM Shefrin, the Fraternity Movement’s state president, delivered the presidential address.
Vishwanathan (46) came to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital for his wife’s delivery. His family members told Maktoob that he was beaten up on 9 February by a mob accusing him of theft. He was found hanging from a tree on the hospital’s premises on February 10, a day after he went missing after the mob attack.
‘Vishwanathan was happy seeing his baby got after eight years of marriage He did not even see the baby properly. We are sure that such a person will not commit suicide. The intervention of the police was also not right. By the time we came to sign, the post-mortem had started.The time of the post-mortem was also not recorded,” Viswanathan’s brother Gopi told reporters.
Two weeks ago, the police team probing the death of Vishwanathan concluded in their report that he died by suicide as a mob attacked him in public for a crime he had not committed.
“Vishwanathan was accused of theft because of his colour and his looks. Those who accused him of theft assumed he was the natural suspect because he was an Adivasi,” read the police report in Malayalam.
Police report comes days after many Adivasi rights groups accused Kerala Police and Kerala government of incation in the incident.
The Medical College ACP, who led the investigation, handed over the report to the Human Rights Commission, Malayalam media outlets reported.
Police have recorded the statements of over 100 people, including the eight people who spoke to Vishwanathan, security officials and other bystanders, among others.