Jayaraj and Bennix die after police torture for violating Lockdown

Jayaraj and Bennix
Jayaraj and Bennix

Protests have begun in Sattankulam town of Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu following the death of a father and son ( Jayaraj and Bennix) in a hospital after allegedly being beaten in police custody. The incident has directed the Madras High Court to report to the police on 26 June.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy said that on June 19, police took Jayaraj and his son Bennix into custody for questioning as they kept their mobile accessories store open during the coronovirus-induced lockdown. A case was registered against them for not following the curfew under the lockout. He was later sent to Kovilpatti sub-jail.

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Relatives of both victims accused the police of detaining them. On 22 June, Bennix complained of shortness of breath and was admitted to a local government-run hospital. Palaniswami said, he died around 9 pm. Jayaraj, who was hospitalized due to an illness, died the next day.

“The relatives of the two told The Hindu,” Jayaraj and Bennix were beaten up again after being taken to the police station, even as some of us watched it. “The family also alleged that the police had sexually assaulted Bennix.

Palaniswami said that four police officers, including two sub-inspectors, have been suspended after the episode. He also announced a cash relief of Rs 10 lakh to the victims’ family. A judicial magistrate has initiated an inquiry, he said.

The Madurai Bench of the High Court took cognizance of the case on Wednesday. Inspector General (South Zone) Shanmuga Rajeswaran and Tuticorin district police chief Arun Balagopal appeared in the court. A bench of Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendi asked the police to submit a report along with the video of the postmortem.