Beating arrested or accused unlawful, says Chennai police chief on guidelines

Chennai Police Commissioner, AK Viswanathan said there are a number of guidelines, besides Supreme Court directions, vis-a-vis arrests

Viswanathan has been posted as ADGP, Operations, Chennail. Photo: Twitter

At a time when the nation has come together in demanding justice for P Jayaraj and his son Bennicks who lost their lives after police personnel at Sathankulam police station harassed them, Chennai Police Commissioner, AK Viswanathan said the conduct of the police was “unlawful”.

“According to the guidelines laid down for police on handling arrests or accused, the police are not even allowed to use hurtful language against them, while beating them up is totally “unlawful,” the Commissioner elaborated in response to queries on the standard procedure.

Viswanathan, speaking to reporters said there are a number of guidelines, besides Supreme Court directions, vis-a-vis arrests.

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“Assault and torture (of the arrested) should not be done. As far as the Greater Chennai Police or the state police is concerned, we have reiterated that even language that could
hurt someone should not be used,” he said.

Related news: Tortured, kicked in private parts, TN youth dies in ‘police custody’

“Beating up is wrong, unlawful. We have been insisting this to all officials, personnel, and police stations,” he added.

P Jayaraj and his son Bennicks, arrested for violating lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with the relatives alleging that they were severely thrashed and sexually tortured at the Sathankulam police station by police personnel earlier.

The incident has triggered a furore in the state, leading to the suspension of four policemen, including two sub-inspectors.

Civil society members, activists, political parties, and celebrities have demanded justice for the death of the father-son duo.

Meanwhile, popular Tamil cinema director G Hari, known for his blockbuster cop stories like Saamy, also expressed concern over the Tuticorin deaths and regretted his glorifying the police in five of his action flicks.

He said a Sathankulam-like incident should not recur and said the highest punishment for the culprits alone would ensure this.

“The excesses of a few personnel in the department has maligned the entire force. I really regret making five films glorifying the police,” he said in the statement.

Known for his fast-paced action thrillers, Hari had churned out blockbuster cop stories Singam and Saamy, starring Surya and Vikram respectively in titular roles, following them up with sequels.

Meanwhile, Makkal Needhi Maiam founder-president Kamal Haasan also sought justice for the father-son duo.

In a statement, he said while financial assistance announced by the government was needed, however, the government should not stop with it.

He called for a detailed probe into the matter, saying all concerned should be punished for their role in the incident.

Related news: TN custodial death: Social media erupts over ‘torture’ of father-son

While the matter has sparked a raging debate across the country, in a similar incident a 25-year old auto-rickshaw driver in Tenkasi district died in the hospital on Saturday (June 27), days after being allegedly tortured by the VK Pudur police in custody during interrogation.

The deceased was identified as N Kumaraesan, of Veerakeralapudur in Tenkasi district.

According to police, Kumaraesan died at Tirunelveli Government Hospital on Saturday night at around 8 pm, after he failed to respond to treatment.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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