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Monday, March 9, 2009

> 'Kulim massacre': A family's nightmare

Twenty days after R Dilip Kumar was shot dead by police on Feb 17, his family is still struggling to come to terms with their loss - and the explanation given by the cops.

His mother, S Selvarasy, 41, (second from left) said she is unable to sleep because of recurring nightmares about Dilip Kumar, the second of her eight children.

Met in Butterworth over the weekend, a tearful Selvarasy said she keeps envisioning Dilip Kumar’s suffering.

"I can feel how my son would have yelled in pain when he was shot," she said.
She was accompanied by her husband A Ragoo, 42, brother S Letchumanasunder, 32, daughter Geetha, 18, and youngest son Tamilarasan, eight.

Dilip Kumar, 20, was among the six men shot dead at a house in Kampung Kamunting, Karangan, some 15km from the Kulim industrial town.

The others were contract worker R Elangovan, 38, LS Santana, 34, contractor R Pannir, 28, crane driver S Vadivelan, 29 and carpenter S Gurusamy, 50.

Police alleged that the six were involved in several armed robberies in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

However, the incident has caused an uproar in view of previous cases of extrajudicial killings and deaths in custody.

Selvarasy said she does not believe the police description of Dilip Kumar as a robber.

"It’s a lie. He did not have a gun, a car, a motorcycle, a driving licence or even a bank account registered under his name. He was penniless. Would a robber be penniless?" she asked.

She pointed out her son did not have a police record even for a traffic offence, let alone for criminal activities or gangsterism.

"We want justice for my son," she said, describing the police as murderers.

Was the truth hidden?

The family has hired senior lawyer and DAP parliamentarian Karpal Singh to pursue the matter in court, while Letchumanasunder has lodged a police report.

Ragoo (left) said that he found his son’s body was wrapped only in a towel, when he identified it at the mortuary.

He suggested that the police have hidden the truth, that Dilip Kumar had just come out of the bathroom after a shower, when he was fatally shot.

Ragoo said Dilip Kumar was an odd-job worker for Elangovan, cutting grass and providing cleaning services. Earlier media reports had stated that Dilip Kumar was a lorry attendant.

"He spent most of his time at the Ayappan temple (in Kulim)," said Ragoo, saying his son had gone to India between Jan 5 and 20 on a special pilgrimage.

The family had only met him a handful of times since his return as he was spending his time at the temple, added Ragoo - Malaysiakini.