The death of Subhash Chand Tomar may well be the next flashpoint between the Delhi Police and anti-rape protesters, with the police commissioner saying the 45-year-old constable suffered multiple internal injuries even as doctors said he died of a cardiac arrest.
The family said Tomar, who died on Tuesday, two days after he was found unconscious at India Gate as anti-rape protesters fought pitched battles with the police, was beaten up by "hooligans", who stomped on him.
"Public is responsible for this. They beat him up badly. Can they give my father back to me?" said Tomar's son Deepak, rubbishing claims that the policeman had a history of heart disease.
A day earlier, the family had said the policeman didn't carry any injury marks.
When Tomar was brought in, he was in a state of cardiac arrest, said a doctor at Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, where the constable was being treated for the last two days.
"We did our best to revive him but he gave up this morning," said the doctor, who refused to be identified.
"No injury marks, cuts or bruises were visible on the body."
"Doctors have told us that Tomar sustained internal injuries in his chest, neck and stomach that eventually resulted in his death," Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar told media.
"Only the post mortem report, which is awaited, can tell the exact cause of death."
The constable died of a cardiac arrest but what led to the condition would only be known from the post mortem report, RML medical superintendent Dr TS Siddhu said.
"We cannot comment on his internal organs as we could not do a CT scan. He was too serious to be moved out."
Dr Siddhu, however, said Tomar did have a few broken ribs.
"That (rib cage fractures) could have happened when we were giving him CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)," he said.
The police, who have registered a case of murder against unknown persons at the Tilak Marg police station, have asked media houses for video footage and photographs of Sunday's protests.
Posted at the Karawal Nagar police station, Tomar, who joined the force in 1987, hailed from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh. He was cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat with police honours at 3.40pm.
Minister of state for home RPN Singh, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, home secretary RK Singh and Delhi Police chief and many of his senior colleagues attended the funeral.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
The entire force would donate a day's salary to Tomar's family, the police chief said, offering a job to a family member on compassionate ground.