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Africans protest in India after death of Congolese in police custody

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A group of Africans have taken to the streets of Bengalaru in India to protest the death of a Congolese man who was allegedly tortured to death by the police in the city.

The spontaneous protest on Tuesday which was triggered by the death of the Congolese student on Monday, also led to six nationals of African countries injured during a scuffle with police in the Indian southern city of Bengaluru over the custodial death of the African.

The deceased, Joel Shindani Malu, 27, was reportedly detained by police on Sunday over charges of possessing a small cache of banned psychotropic ecstasy pills but died in custody early on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest, an officer said.

“He was diagnosed with Bradycardia and was administered with several rounds of CPR [Cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and other life-saving interventions but died due to a suspected cardiac arrest,” the officer said.

A local official added:

“Following his death, several nationals of African countries staged a demonstration outside the police station and scuffled with policemen, which led to the assault of an officer.

“They were members of the Pan African Federation, a group set up to protect the rights of African students and professionals in the city.

“The demonstrators refuted the police claim that Malu had died of cardiac arrest and accused them of falsely detaining him before police used batons to push back the protesters and arrested a dozen demonstrators.”

Police say they have opened an investigation into the death amid claims that the deceased student was “illegally” living in India after his passport and visa expired in 2017.

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“Investigation into the death is being conducted as per NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) guidelines including inquest by a judicial magistrate. The investigation has been transferred to CID (Crime Investigation Department),” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant tweeted.

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