Home English News “Custodial deaths: curse of the poor” – Ramasamy

“Custodial deaths: curse of the poor” – Ramasamy



As I have said before, the deaths of the two detainees, A. Ganapathy and S. Sivabalan, in the Gombak police station were not going to be the first and definitely not going to be the last.

I had hardly finished my statement, another young Indian detainee by the name of Surendran Shanker, 21 years of age, died of allegedly of multiple organ failures in a hospital in Kluang, Johore.

He was arrested Petaling Jaya, Selangor, for allegedly drug offences and transferred to Simpang Rengam prison in Johore before being admitted to a hospital in Kluang after he complained of stomach pains.


The question is: how could a young individual suddenly complained of stomach pains before he was admitted to the hospital.


Even if accept the immediate cause of death as multiple organs failure, the question who were responsible for these failures?

Was he assaulted in the detention centres?

Were the police in charge responsible or some others?

Is there going to be an inquest into the mysterious death of Surendran?

Will the police come forward to explain in detail as to what really transpired?

Will the government take immediate action to suspend the police personnel if they had caused the death of Surendran?

His mother is extremely agitated as to his death. She suspects that he could have died as result of some foul play.

What is the government of the day going to do about the steady increase of deaths in custody?

Are they going to sweep it under the carpet because it involved a person belonging to the marginalised community?

Maybe the lives of ordinary persons especially of those belonging to the working class don’t matter anymore.

Can we say that only the lives of the rich and powerful count in this country?
At least in the LRT a accident, the chairman of Prasarana Tajuddin Abdul Rahman became the fall guy.

Then what about custodial deaths?

Our newly minted IGP Acyrl Sani Abdullah Sani seems rather reticent on the matter of custodial deaths?

He cannot pretend things are well and fine with the police force.

He should remind himself of some of the serious allegations made by his predecessor recently about the police force.

As I have written before, custodial deaths are curse and tragedy on the members of the working class, the downtrodden and the marginalised.

The prevailing myth that the police are above the law might contribute to a sense of impunity among them.

To date, police personnel suspected of involvement in custodial deaths have neither being suspended or prosecuted in the court of the law.

Again, the recent death of Surendran in Johore is not the first and certainly not going to be the last.

The question is: who is going to be the next unfortunate victim and where such unfortunate incidents are going to take place.

Really, it does not augur well for the government or the police force if custodial deaths are going to occur frequently.