Congolese man’s death sparks protest in Bangalore; police uses force

Bangalore: A day after the custodial death of a Congolese man, a demonstration in the city by African national people turned violent as police began lathi charge against the protestors.

According to the police, Joel Shindani Malu, 27, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was detained early Monday morning for allegedly possessing narcotic substances. 

In custody a couple of hours later, he complained of chest pain and was rushed to a private hospital where he died allegedly of cardiac arrest.

They said it was not a case of custodial death. After hearing this, a number of Africans staged the protest in front of the police station where their countryman was detained.

One of the protestors allegedly assaulted a policeman for the incident subsequently leading to the lathi charge, said the police.

“Joel had come to Bengaluru on a student visa and as per our preliminary investigation details, his student visa expired on 20/07/2015 and his passport expired on 13/12/2017. The investigation in UDR No 19/2021 under 176 CrPC is being conducted as per guidelines laid down by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),” DCP North Dharmender Kumar Meena said while speaking to The Indian Express.

As per the Indian Express report, one of the protesters who claimed to be Joel’s friend told reporters outside the police station Monday that Joel was celebrating a birthday party of his friend Torres at their house in Hennur when the police raided the spot and picked him up. “Joel’s wife was also with him when he was detained,” he said. Calls to the president of the Pan African Federation in Bengaluru for a response on the case went unanswered.

Police have said they launched a crackdown on African nationals across the city and raided 65 houses on July 15 before arresting 38 foreigners for overstaying. police also added that a huge amount of narcotics was seized from these people.