The death of a Nigerian man identified as Leohand Lyeanyi has triggered a protest at Outer Ring Road near Vikaspuri, as the Indian police have been accused of having a hand in it.
It was alleged that the 43-year-old Nigerian man died in West Delhi’s Tilak Nagar after an alleged brief interaction with a policeman in the early hours of Sunday, March 28.
The police however denied this by stating that initial medical examination did not reveal any visible external injuries, and had no link to his interaction with a policeman and a home-guard patrolling duty in the area.
Urvija Goel, deputy commissioner of police (west) told newsmen that the police were in the process of arresting protesters who allegedly took part in the protest he described as a “riot” near Vikaspuri, under the Tilak Nagar police station’s jurisdiction.
Goel said; “We have rounded up some people who were rioting. They are being booked and will be arrested.
“While we are continuing the probe, we want to make it clear that there were no external injury marks on the man’s body. This fact has also been stated in the medico-legal examination report.”
According to his friends, Lyeanyi had been living in Delhi for the past many years and was into medical tourism, particularly catering to patients from Nigeria.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Lyeanyi’s relative Yabo Stan said the man was walking from his home to the main road to board a cab when he was stopped by two policemen riding a motorcycle. He alleged that the policemen tried to extort money from Lyeanyi.
He said; “Eyewitnesses have told me that when Lyeanyi said he only had enough money to pay for his cab fare, one of the policemen hit him on the back of his head with a stick. We have seen CCTV footage, which shows a policeman hitting Lyeanyi.”
Stan also accused the police of hiding the CCTV footage.
He said; “The police have taken control of all the CCTV footage and are burying all evidence.”
It was gathered that some Nigerians rushed Lyeanyi to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, where he succumbed during treatment.
The police, however, gave an entirely different account of the incident.
According to the DCP, policemen and a home guard were patrolling the streets around 2.30 am when they noticed three-four men walking in the dark.
Goel said; ”Hearing the sound of the siren from the patrol bike, the men began running away. Seeing them run, the policeman and home guard began chasing them.
CCTV footage shows Lyeanyi getting into an auto, hopping off it and holding on to a shutter of a shop, before collapsing.
There is no evidence of the home guard having any physical interaction with Lyeanyi.
It was also gathered that the police charged at the protesters with a baton to disperse them. However after the protesters were dispersed, they returned and pelted the police with stones and bottles.
The baton charge left at least five protesters with visible injuries. The police said they were yet to take stock of injuries to their personnel.
One of the protesters, Jude Osia said; “The police here have been harassing us. They take bribes from us when we are unable to produce our documents. They frisk us without any reason. Even the local shops sell goods to us at a higher price.”