Custodial deaths in TN: A 25-year-old man from Tenkasi died of police brutality!

While the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks in Sathankulam, Thoothukudi last week had marked an indelible scar for the state's police department which erupted massive protests and outrage across the state demanding strict action against the police officers responsible for the deaths of the father and son duo, the state of Tamil Nadu has witnessed yet another case of custodial torture in Tenkasi district.

The back of back incidents of what have been dubbed as police brutality had seemingly revealed of what could be the grounds of police treatment behind the bars. The recent such death of a 25-year-old autorickshaw driver in Tenkasi district has been alleged to the result of police torture. According to the reports, autorickshaw driver Kumaresan, a native of Veerakeralampudur in Tenkasi, had succumbed on Saturday - June 27, due to internal injuries and hemorrhage after being thrashed by two police officers.

The reports say Kumaresan had developed a dispute over property with a local man and based on the complaint filed by the latter, Kumaresan was called by local sub-inspector Chandrasekar for the investigation on May 8, 2020, and during the investigation, the sub-inspector had reportedly slapped him and he further went anger after Kumaresan's father asked him the reason behind beating him while being called upon for the investigation.

Following day - May 9, the sub-inspector again called Kumaresan, when he was at his autorickshaw stand, for investigation during which the duo had developed an argument and the officers reportedly took his mobile phone and called him to the station the next day on May 10 to collect his phone. Kumaresan went to the police station at 11 am on May 10 during which SI Chandrasekar and Constable Kumar had brutally attacked him inside the station. The reports stated that the two police officers allegedly have beaten him with lathis, kicked him on his chest and genitals and they have beaten him on his back, leaving him to endure severe back pain.

After having been faced police torture, Kumaresan and his father were strictly warned off by the police officers that they would be brought under the grounds of serious offenses if they put out the word outside about the torture. Kumaresan was sent home and observed silence on what happened at the police station fearing the warning by the police officers. However, Kumaresan developed multiple discomforts to his health due to the internal injuries caused as the sequel of the police torture.

On June 10, a month after facing the police torture, Kumaresan took blood vomit and shown breathing difficulties and he was rushed to a private hospital for further treatments. However, his health was deteriorating in the hospital and three days later, he was taken to the Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital. Initially, he didn't divulge about the police torture but after the doctors at the government hospital identified that his organs were badly injured, he said to the doctors what happened to him at the police station, upon asking about the history of the injuries.

Following the development, the police came to the hospital and get a complaint from Kumaresan on June 14. However, they haven't penned as the brutal assault. Kumaresan's father Navaneethakrishnan filed a complaint before the district superintendent of police. On June 19, Kumaresan's family sent a complaint to the Chief Minister's cell via post and to the Human Rights Commission. They also moved their petition to the District Collector on June 22. However, they didn't see proper action, but what they saw was his death as Kumaresan breathed his last on Saturday- June 27. The autopsy was carried out at the hospital on Sunday following which his body was taken to the village and buried in the evening hours of Sunday.

However, the relatives of the victim and villagers held a protest on Saturday demanding to book two police officers Chandrasekar and Kumar under the grounds of murder. According to the reports, police got a complaint from the victim's father and booked a case of suspicious death and a case has been registered against SI Chandrasekar and Constable Kumar under section 174(3) of the CrPC and these two police officers have been suspended.