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Activist Dias may not have been murdered: Goa Police

Panaji: Goa police, which is investigating the mysterious death of activist Bismarque Dias in his village last week, did not find anything “amiss” in the incident so far and will not hand over the case to crime branch as demanded by his family members, an official said here today.

“The case is registered as an unnatural death and an inquest is on. We are keeping all possibilities open. However, at the moment there is nothing to indicate that it was a homicide. Both the post-mortem reports have found no antemortem injuries (which a body receives before death) on the activist’s body.

“We are not going to hand over the matter to the Crime Branch because there is no crime involved,” Deputy Inspector General of Police V Renganathan told reporters at a press conference.

Bismarque, also a non-practising Catholic priest, was found dead on November 7 in the backwaters of his village St Estevam after he went missing on November 5. According to his family members, Bismarque had gone for a walk along with two youths, who returned later.

While the first post-mortem report mentioned asphyxiation due to drowning as the cause of his death, the conclusions from the report of the second autopsy, conducted on the request of his family members, are pending as the viscera was sent to Hyderabad Forensic Laboratory, police had said.

Bismarque was the leader of a band of musicians who used to organise musical protests against several projects in the coastal state, including an upcoming golf course and a new greenfield airport. He was currently spearheading a protest against the government’s plans to build an electronic city in the state.

Bismarque, who was also involved in protest against several tourism projects requiring large-scale land acquisition, had received threats to life and complained to police.

Police had already taken the two youths into custody, who had accompanied Bismarque on November 5, and are in the process of questioning those persons whom Bismarque had accused of threatening him.

“We are conducting an inquiry and have retraced the sequence of events till he went missing. Until inquiries are completed, we will not ascribe to any of the theories doing the rounds,” Renganathan said, adding that information available with police has been looked into and is being independently verified.

Bismarque’s family had called on the state DGP T N Mohan on Tuesday and demanded that the case be handed over to the crime branch while accusing the police of incompetence.