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Tamil Nadu Police Custody Deaths: Those Police Officers Failed the People, the Deceased, and Their Uniform

File photos of P Jayaraj, 60, and J Bennix, 31.

File photos of P Jayaraj, 60, and J Bennix, 31.

There is a mandatory provision to file a murder case against the accused cops. The SOP in such cases is that the entire police station staff, irrespective of involvement in the case, should be placed under suspension. The people who brutalised the two should be sent to jail.

Vikram Singh
  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 6:13 PM IST
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A lot of us came out to protest, and quite rightly so, against the murder of George Floyd. But the custodial torture and murder of the father-son duo of Tamil Nadu is a hundred times more important and needs as much attention.

To begin with, the honorable Supreme Court had in its DK Basu judgment ruled that arrest was not mandatory in minor offences. What the police had accused the two of them of could have been dealt with under section 188 of IPC. There was no need to even bring them to the police station. It was unpardonable how they were brutalised before the public and how their blood-soaked clothes were sent to their family.

It is important here to highlight the role of the magistrate. As per the news reports, he did not even come down from his first-floor office to look at the father-son who were produced by police that was asking for their judicial custody. The magistrate does nothing. I think the police leadership has also failed in this case. You failed the people, you failed the deceased and you failed your uniform.

There is a mandatory provision to file a murder case against the accused cops. The SOP in such cases is that the entire police station staff, irrespective of involvement in the case, should be placed under suspension. The people who brutalised the two should be sent to jail. Article 311 gives the top police officer the power to dismiss them without inquiry. Post-mortem of the two should be done under the supervision of an eminent team of doctors and a magisterial inquiry should have been ordered. The senior police officers should not try and shield their police officers accused of such heinous crimes. This is not a Boys' Club.

The response to this case is one of the spirit willing but the flesh being weak. If you look at the cases of custodial deaths over the last few years, in 2017 a total of 92 such deaths happened. What are you trying to suggest? Are you by not awarding exemplary punishment to the accused in such cases, condoning such crimes? Fast-track courts should be set up in such cases and convictions should be ensured. If rage against this crime does not translate into action it is impotent rage.

[Vikram Singh is former DGP, Uttar Pradesh. Views expressed are personal]

(As told to Suhas Munshi)

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