Months after the custodial deaths of father-son duo Jayaraj P and Bennicks J in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi, another shocking incident of alleged assault by police officers in Sathankulam station has emerged. A resident of Sathankulam, identified as Martin, has alleged that he was thrashed and subsequently taken to the police station by Inspector Xavier and Assistant Inspector Raja on August 23.
On the next day, because of the severity of his injuries, police reportedly took him to Thoothukudi Government Medical College Hospital.
Martin told news agency ANI that he remained in police custody from August 24 to 28 and was then produced before a judicial magistrate, who recorded his statement and granted him bail. Martin has also accused two other police officers of having tortured him through his illegal detention.
“I was tortured illegally at the police station for the past six days and it was only after my advocate pleaded that I was produced before the magistrate," Martin was quoted as saying.
The victim’s family, meanwhile, called for immediate action against the police personnel involved in torturing him and demanded that the state government provide them relief.
The deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks turned into a national event, exposing the faultlines in the criminal justice system and the lack of sensitisation of the police force to rights of suspects. The father-son duo, arrested for ‘violating’ lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with the kin alleging that they were severely beaten at the Sathankulam police station by the police officers earlier.
The incident had triggered a nationwide furore, leading to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two Sub-Inspectors. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is presently pursuing the case after the Tamil Nadu government handed over the probe to the premier agency from the state’s CB-CID following the outrage over the traders’ death.