TN custodial deaths expose other cases of alleged police torture

At least three more cases of police excesses have been reported in the same district, one of which is from Sattankulam police station

At least six cases of police excesses have been taken up for inquiry in Tamil Nadu following the deaths of the father-son duo. Representational image: Twitter

In the wake of the custodial death of the father-son duo at Sattankulam in Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu, at least six cases of police excesses have been taken up for inquiry in the state.

Soon after the deaths of P Jayaraj and J Bennicks in police custody due to alleged torture inflicted upon them at the Sattankulam police station, Tuticorin SP Arun Balagopal, Additional Superintendent of Police D Kumar were placed on compulsory wait and Villupuram SP S Jayakumar was posted as the new SP of Tuticorin.

In connection with the death of the father-son duo, CB-CID police have so far arrested as many as 10 police personnel including Sattankulam police inspector Srithar, two Sub-Inspector, one Special Sub-Inspector and six constables on charges of murder and causing disappearance of evidence.

The investigation is being monitored by the court. At least three cases of police excesses have been reported in the same district. Of the three cases, one was from the same Sattankulam police station. On June 13, Mahendran, brother of a murder case accused died after one side of his body was paralysed.

According to Mahendran’s mother S Vadivu, on May 22 SI Raghu Ganesh, an accused in the recent father-son custodial death case, was on the lookout for Durai, an accused in a murder case. Not finding him, he picked Durai’s brother Mahendran.

“He warned us that he would let Mahendran go only after Durai surrendered to him. Until May 24, my son Durai was kept in police custody. He was assaulted by SI Raghu Ganesh and inspector Srithar,” Vavidu said.

He fell ill and was admitted to the hospital on June 1. Two days later, he died after one side of his body was paralysed.

While Vadivu has filed a petition before the Madurai bench of Madras High Court seeking action against the cops, Superintendent of Police Jayakumar has initiated an internal probe.

Speaking to The Federal, Jayakumar said that a team headed by the ADSP and DSPs are inquiring about three such cases in the district.

“We have been inquiring with the accused person who were victims of the police excesses and to the relatives of the accused. Once, the inquiry is completed, department action may be taken against the erring officials” he said.

Of the other two cases, in one case, an accused Raja Singh, who was arrested by the Sattankulam police was assaulted by the cops before lodging him under judicial custody.

He was allegedly denied treatment even inside the prison until the death of Jayaraj and Beniks. Sources who met Raja Singh at the hospital told The Federal that he was admitted to the hospital only after Jayaraj and Beniks died in custody.

“If their issue had not been heard by the court, police might not have admitted me to the hospital,” Raja Singh told the source who met him in the hospital.

Madras High Court has also asked the police to inquire into the incident and file an FIR if necessary.

In another incident in the same district, Habeeb Mohammed, an autorickshaw driver of Kayalpattinam was picked by the Arumuganeri police for disregarding the containment zone in his locality. He was beaten black and blue.

According to people in the know, Mohammed pushed the barricades of the containment zone in his locality and went out for a smoke. “The policemen at Arumuganeri police station took him to the station and beat him causing severe injuries to his body.

The injuries allegedly affected his urinary tract and so far he has spent about Rs 1 lakh for treatment. Based on a complaint, two officers in the rank of DSP have been inquiring into the matter.

Similarly, in early June S Ragunath (23) of Kollapatti village was arrested by the Thuraiyur police in Trichy on charges of conspiring to commit dacoity.

After coming out on bail on June 27, Ragunath filed a petition before the State Human Rights commission on July 2 seeking action against the Thuraiyur police inspector and other police personnel for torturing him in their custody.

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