P.Jeyaraj a 62 years old mobile shop owner was taken into police custody on 19 June after he allegedly passed critical remarks on a police patrol team the previous day.
The said comments were passed after the patrol team made the shopkeepers close their respective businesses in accordance with the lockdown rules. A rickshaw driver had informed the police about Jeyaraj’s remarks.
The agitated policemen came to his shop and took him into custody on June 19 late in the evening citing the violation of lockdown protocols the reason for his arrest. Jeyaraj’s son Fenix followed his father to the station.
At the police station, Fenix witnessed his father being physically harassed after which he questioned the police officer. When not given any response Fenix pushed the said officer in order to protect his father.
This enraged the policemen. A team of two sub-inspectors and two constables started torturing and beating the father-son duo after Fenix’s actions. A total of 13 officers were present at the station at the time all this was happening.
On June 20 both of them were taken to the Sathankulam Government Hospital. Family members present at the time say that both the father and the son were in bad shape and their pants were soaked in blood. After 3 hours at the hospital, they were taken to the magistrate court.
The father-son duo was sent to Kovilpatti Sub Jail on remand by the court. At the station, they were kept out of contact with their family till June 22. After being released both of them were admitted to a nearby government hospital. Due to excessive blood loss and severe external and internal injuries Fenix died on 22 June. P.Jeyaraj took his last breath in the wee hours of June 23.
As for the actions being taken on the involved personnel, two officers and two constables are suspended and the station inspector has been transferred. A report of the post-mortem has been sent to the Madras High Court which is waiting for a report from the police. A Judicial inquiry is also in process.