Indian-origin victim’s family claims harassment

Singapore, May 29 (IANS) The family members of an Indian-origin man, who died in police custody in Malaysia last week, have claimed that they were harassed by police and the prime minister’s department.

N. Dhamendran died in the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters May 21.

His father, V. Narayanaswamy, Wednesday claimed that he has twice received phone calls from the prime minister’s department after the incident, media reports said.

“I received a call around 9 p.m. on May 27 from a man named Ravindran, who told me he was from the prime minister’s department under minister Datuk Paul Low,” Narayanaswamy said at a press conference in the headquarters of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) at Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur.

“He said they were interested in meeting us but that we should keep it a secret from our lawyer and also advised me to hire new lawyers,” he said.

Minister Low has denied the allegation but said that his aide did call up the family but only to offer condolences.

“I wanted to contact them to assure them that I will be bringing up the matter during the cabinet meeting and asked if I could see them personally to offer my condolences,” the Malaysian Star quoted Low as saying.

Dhamendran, a lorry driver, was detained May 13 along with three others to assist police in an investigation into a May 11 shooting incident in Bandar Tun Razak area of Kuala Lumpur. Two other Indian-origin men had sustained injuries in the incident.

Police said Dhamendran had complained of chest pain May 21 and was taken to hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead on arrival at 9 p.m..

However, the post-mortem examination report later showed that he might have been murdered while in police custody.

The case was then classified as a murder and handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the police headquarters.

“We have a post-mortem report from forensic expert Dr. Siew Sheue Feng, which stated that the cause of my husband’s death was multiple blunt force trauma,” the victim’s wife M. Marry said at the press conference.

“Why are they still calling up my family and even my lawyer? They haven’t even arrested a single policeman responsible,” she said.

“Why are they still calling up my family and even my lawyer? They haven’t even arrested a single cop responsible.”

Lawyer and PKR vice president N. Surendran, who is representing the family, also criticised Ravindran for calling up the family and asking for the conversation to be kept a secret.

“Why must they keep it a secret if they are sincere in helping the grieving family?” said Surendran, who was also present at the press conference.

“It’s clear that there is an attempt by the PM’s department to disengage us as lawyers and cover up the matter.”

He asked Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to give an explanation regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, the CID, when contacted, refused to comment on the matter and sought more time “to properly investigate the case”.

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