Sathankulam custodial deaths: UN Chief's demand and TN Police's latest action!

Amid the massive national outrage, the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks in Sathankulam, Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu, had attained the international spotlight as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has demanded a full probe and investigation into the custodial deaths of the father and son duo, which spotlighted the police brutality in India.

The UN Chief's assertion was put out by his official spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. When asked about the death of Jayaraj and Bennicks who were died due to the police torture, Dujarric, on Friday, said that the UN Secretary-General wants the death of the father and son duo investigated and every death of all these cases as a principle need to the fully investigated.  

In line with the United Nations, the global human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had voiced for the importance of justice for the father and son duo. By comparing the brutal death of George Floyd in the United States, the Human Rights defenders and activists in India have urged to regulate the law enforcement agencies and to hold the police officers accountable. 

As the custodial deaths sparked massive resentments in Tamil Nadu,  the Madras High Court Madurai Bench has taken the case under its suo motu cognizance and directed the CB-CID police to probe into the custodial deaths. The CB-CID team had initiated the probe on June 30 and so far, the probing team has arrested ten police officers attached to the Sathankulam police station in connection to torturing and beating Jayaraj and Bennicks to death. 

According to the reports, the arrested police officers include Inspector Sridhar, Sub-Inspectors Raghu Ganesh, Balakrishnan, and Paul Durai, Head Constables Murugan and Muthuraj and constables Samidurai, Chelladurai, Veilumuthu, and Thomas Francis. All of them were booked under sections of murder and wrongful confinement and they have been lodged in Madurai Central prison under judicial custody.

Of these ten police officers, Sridhar, Raghu Ganesh, Balakrishnan, Murugan, and Muthuraj were suspended for their involvement in the case. However, the rest five officers remained unsuspended. According to the latest reports, Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Jayakumar has, on Sunday, announced that all five officers have been suspended from their posts. 

The development of suspending five officers has come when the probe of the custodial deaths has been taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week as per the direction of the Central government, which consented the CBI's probe based on the request made by the Tamil Nadu government. The team of seven CBI officers arrived in Thoothukudi on Saturday.

The CBI has launched its probe from the house of the father and son duo as the CBCID handed over the file related to the case to the CBI. The Central Agency held an inquiry with the family members of the deceased and booked the police officers under the grounds of murder, illegal detention, and tampering and destructing the evidence.