The Tuticorin Custodial Death Case And The Police Brutality In Tamil Nadu
Parul Madaan 30 Jun 2020

The Tuticorin Custodial Death Case And The Police Brutality In Tamil Nadu

Police brutality, an important phenomenon in India today, abuses numerous civil and human rights by abusing and tormenting a individual. From 2000 to 2016, according to the National Crime Record Bureau figures, there were 1,022 confirmed deaths of people in police custody, but only 428 FIRs were charged, of which 5 percent of the policemen were eventually sentenced. Police brutality has been accepted to the point that it is part of our mass culture and has even been idolized in modern years – but this portrayal may not be further from the facts.

In the current Tuticorin case, the death of father (Jeyaraj) and son (Fenix) due to alleged custodial torture in the town of Sathankulam near Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu has provoked frustration and anger all over the state. The Tamil Nadu Traders Association closed shutters across the state. The victims were traders from the Nadar caste, a socially and politically influential group in southern Tamil Nadu.

Both the father and the son ran a cell phone shop at Sathankulam town, which was opened 15 minutes after the curfew on June 18, during the COVID-induced lockdown. 

Jeyaraj allegedly made several negative remarks about the police patrol unit on June 18, ordering shop owners to close down stores early for locking laws. The auto driver had told the police about the comments, and the police team had come to take him in custody the very next day. After Jeyaraj was taken into custody by an angry police team, his son, J Fenix, followed the police team to the station.

At the Sathankulam police station, a senior police officer said that Bennix saw his father getting physically harassed by an cop. An angry Fenix confronted the cop, attempted to hinder the officer, or pressured him to safeguard his father. “It had provoked the police team, they thrashed both father and son for hours. There were two sub-inspectors and two constables in the torture team. A total of 13 officers were there at the station during the incident, including volunteer’s part of Friends of Police,” the officer said.

This was a direct abuse of the police's arresting authority, as the store was shut down within 15 minutes. The next day, however, the two were arrested and charged with what appears to be an exaggerated count of charges. Even though two FIRs have been filed, no policeman has been charged with murder charges. Regarding the uproar and protest movements, four police officers, including two sub-inspectors, were suspended. The inspector for the station has been transferred. The judicial investigation is ongoing, the post-mortem report has been submitted to the High Court of Madras in a sealed form, and the court is awaiting a police report.

The causes of these barbarous actions by the police must be thoroughly examined and reviewed, so that effective steps can be taken to nip these behaviors in the bud. The judiciary needs to start paying a little more consideration to such a horrific and extreme abuse of authority and examine the complaints and bring the wrongdoer to justice. Clear and unmistakable instructions need to be issued to police departments that unwarranted use of force and authority can just bring them trouble.

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Rekha Modi   30 Jun 2020 9:57pm
If the witnesses and lawyer for the victims were waiting outside the police station and heard their screams, they should have gathered a few people quickly read more

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