Sunday, January 24, 2010

One year on, Kugan's mom still in anguish - Malaysiakini

It is often said that time heals all wounds, but not so for the family of A Kugan,who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody a year ago.

kugan prayer family 230110 indra nalla thambiHis mother, N Indra, 41, broke down when met on Tuesday night at their family home in Bukit Kinrara, Selangor, during a prayer ceremony to mark the first anniversary of his death.

"I do not have the heart to carry out the prayers ceremony... I'm in agony over his death and the way they took his life... There is no meaning to it," said Indra, in between her sobs.

She said she tries to console herself that Kugan (left) is still alive and working out of town, to help her get through each day.

As Kugan disappeared during the Hindu ponggal festival last year, every time she heard the 'happy ponggal' greeting last week, Indra said, she broke down as memories of her deceased son flooded back.

On Jan 20 last year, Kugan, 22, was pronounced dead after he went missing for five days.

While he was missing, his family searched numerous police stations to no avail after receiving an anonymous tipoff.

kugan ananthan 230109On learning later that their Kugan (left) was dead, his family tried to claim his body at the morgue, only to be overcome with shock upon finding laceration marks and bruises all over his body.

Despite glaring the evidence, Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar claimed that autopsy results showed Kugan had died of "liquid in his lungs".

Mother yearns for justice

This was debunked when an independent second autopsy was performed and found that he had in fact died of kidney failure from severe beating.

Ten months later, after widespread public outcry, the Attorney-General's Chambers eventually charged constable V Navindran on two counts of causing "grievous hurt" while trying to extract a confession or information.

The relatively mild charge shocked many because Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had initially classified the case as murder and initially 11 police personnel were said to have been involved.

Unsurprisingly, Indra told Malaysiakini that she was unhappy with the outcome of police investigations.

"All 11 must be punished. They must face the death sentence for committing murder, so what happened to my son will not happen to others," she said.

kugan prayer family 230110 familyOther than the family, the prayer ceremony at her home was attended by a small delegation of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) activist and Human Rights Party (HRP) leader P Uthayakumar.

Indra's lawyer N Surendran lamented that despite the tragedy which befell Kugan's family, the police not only failed to prosecute swiftly, but also appear to have deliberately complicated matters for them.

"Instead of helping a grieving family, they made it difficult every step of the way, to the extent of refusing to surrender tissue samples (of the deceased). This is why the mother is still weeping today," he said.

AG's 'token charge'

Uthayakumar described the causing "grievous hurt" charge against the constable as a "token charge" by the attorney-general when it should have been murder or attempted murder by more individuals.

He justified this by citing the aftermath of the November 2007 Hindraf rally, where more than 40 individuals were charged for attempted murder of a police personnel.

Unlike Kugan's heavily damaged body, the police personnel involved received a mere five stitches to his head, allegedly after iron rods and bricks were hurled at him.

The extent of the police personnel's injuries were confirmed by Abdul Gani in an interview in December 2007.