A protest over the alleged custodial death of a Congolese national sparked clashes between several foreigners and the police outside a Bengaluru police station on Monday, The News Minute reported.
The protestors have been arrested and taken to different police stations in the city. The inquiry into the death has been transferred to the Crime Investigation Department.
Joel Shindani Malu, a 27-year old Congolese national, was arrested by Bengaluru’s JC Nagar Police on Sunday night for allegedly possessing drugs. He died, reportedly due to a cardiac arrest, on Monday morning while in police custody.
At 1 pm on Monday, around 20 people from various African countries gathered outside the JC Nagar police station to protest against the incident. They blocked traffic and chanted slogans related to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to The News Minute.
Protests related to the anti-racial discrimination movement, Black Lives Matter, gained traction across the world following the death of African-American man George Floyd, who was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a police officer in United States’ Minnesota, in May last year. Chauvin was sentenced to prison for 270 months in June.
The clashes outside JC Nagar police station on Monday started after the protestors allegedly abused and tried to snatch batons from police personnel, according to witnesses who spoke to The News Minute. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said that they attacked a sub-inspector.
The police then resorted to baton charge, resulting in injuries to many protestors. In a video of the incident, a group of policemen can be seen beating up a protestor even as he bleeds from the head and denies any involvement.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Pant said that Malu’s student visa had expired in December 2016 and his passport in June 2017. He added that the investigation into his death is being carried out according to guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru North, Dharmender Kumar Meena said that Malu was apprehended by a police patrolling vehicle on Sunday night.
“As Joel [Shindani Malu] was trying to flee, a few small plastic packets containing white color substance fell on the ground, which were suspected to be narcotics,” he said, according to The News Minute. Meena added that Malu had confessed that the seized substance was MDMA, a type of drug.