The custodial deaths of a father and son spark protests across parts of Tamil Nadu with many taking to the streets to demand justice. Earlier this week, Jayaraj, 59, and his son Bennix, 31, were allegedly brutalised by the Sathankulam police for reportedly keeping their mobile shop open for a few minutes after the permitted time. Their death has sparked public outrage and two sub-inspectors have been suspended so far.
The death of a father and son in police custody in Tamil Nadus Thoothukudi district was worse than that of Geroge Floyd in the US, said Abraham Mathai, founder of Harmony Foundation and former Vice Chairman of Maharashtra State Minorities Commission.
Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minnesota, US while being taken into custody.
Jayaraj and Benicks, aka Fenix were booked for not closing their mobile shop in time on June 19 by the Sathankulam police in Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu. They were remanded in judicial custody and lodged in Kovilpatti jail on June 21.
Jayaraj died on June 22 night and his son Benicks on June 23 morning in judicial custody. The families alleged that police assault led to their deaths.
“Today, there is deafening silence from a large portion of those very people who demanded action in George Floyd’s case. When it is closer home, our voices should be raised even louder. No one should get away with murder. Least of all those whom we trust with ensuring law and order,” Mathai said.
Meanwhile the demand for stringent action against the police personnel and others involved in the alleged deaths due to torture is increasing.
According to P.S.Raman, Convener, the Tamil Nadu Senior Advocates Forum has passed a resolution demanding action against the guilty involved in the brutal deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix.
“The Magistrate who remanded them to judicial custody, the duty doctor who issued the fitness certificate as well as the jailor have all wholly failed in their duties and contributed to the tragedy,” the resolution said.
“We strongly condemn the incident which demonstrates lack of respect for the rule of law and leads to failing public confidence in administration in these trying times. We call for justice to be done by swift meaningful steps in accordance with law and bring the guilty to book,” the resolution reads.
Mathai wondered whether policemen are given a licence to kill the minute they don their uniform.
“The brutal torture and murder of this father and son in Tamil Nadu in police custody is terribly shocking and demands for drastic and punitive action to be taken with immediate effect. Should it be inferred that our law enforcement officers are following the example of their counterparts in the United States?,” Mathai said.
“If that be the case then, the same punitive action of arresting and charging them with murder should be applied in the killing of Jayaraj and his son Bennix,” he added.
According to Mathai, the state government need not await directions from the Madras High Court which has taken suo moto cognizance but should immediately register an FIR and arrest these policemen to show the world that they operate and govern with a conscience.
In the US the government didn’t wait for any court directive but immediately charged the guilty policeman with murder, he pointed out. (IANS)