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Karnataka: Protests erupt after Congo national dies in police custody

10:48 PM Aug 02, 2021 | Shankar Raj

Bengaluru: Protests erupted in front of a police station following the custodial death of an African national from the Democratic Republic of Congo Monday.

The protest, mostly by African students who shouted ‘Black Lives Matter’, turned violent and the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd. The protesters were later arrested and taken to different police stations

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A source said 27-year-old Joel Shindani Malu aka Joan was allegedly arrested by the JC Nagar police in connection with a drug-related issue Sunday night and was declared dead while in police custody. He reportedly died of a cardiac arrest at around 6:45 am Monday after he was admitted to a private hospital. The case has been transferred to the CID for investigation.

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Bengaluru Commissioner of Police Kamal Pant said that Joel “experienced chest pain and later died in a private hospital, while under treatment” and that the investigation into the death has been immediately transferred to the CID. By 6 pm, a team of CID officials arrived at the JC Nagar police station to begin recording statements.

A case of unnatural death has been registered under section 176 of the CrPC. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joel had come to Bengaluru on a student visa. Available information suggests that his student visa had expired on 20/07/2015 and his passport had expired on 13/12/2017.

According to the police, a patrolling police vehicle approached Joel at around 12:30 am and he was apprehended. “As Joel was trying to flee, a few small plastic packets containing white colour substance fell on the ground which were suspected to be narcotics,” the police said. The man allegedly confessed that the substance was MDMA that he had planned to sell. “Another foreign national who was riding the bike escaped during the scuffle,” he added.

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