More than 1,000 people in the city of Sathankulam in the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu organized a dharna on Tuesday after two people were reportedly killed here in police custody.
The deceased have been identified as Jayaraj (59) and his son Fenix (31). Two sub-inspectors have been suspended.
According to protesters and other locals, Jayaraj and Fenix had a mobile store in the city. Last Friday, they closed the shop around 8:15 PM. Sathankulam police station personnel, who were on patrol, allegedly arrested him for running the store outside the allotted time, and there was a fight.
Police staff visited the store again on Saturday evening and had a conversation with Jayaraj. When Fenix intervened, both father and son were taken to the police station and booked under various sections of the IPC, including Section 188 (disobedience to an order duly proclaimed by the officer) and 353 (use of force to attack officers).
On Sunday, after a medical check-up, the duo were placed in the Kovilpatti sub-prison. That night, locals claimed Fenix complained of chest pain and Jayaraj had a high fever. Both were taken to the government hospital of Kovilpatti, where Fenix died Monday night and Jayaraj succumbed to respiratory disease on Tuesday morning.
Jayaraj's wife, Selvarani, has filed a complaint alleging police brutality leading to the death of her husband and son. In her letter of complaint, she said that the police had brutally attacked her husband and son, used curse words, and threatened to kill them.
All the union bodies, different political outfits, activists and the local public condemned the murder in different parts of the city.
Thoothukudi District collector Sandeep Nanduri, told reporters that two sub-inspectors have been suspended in connection with the incident. "We have ordered a probe. The autopsy of the two bodies will take place in the Tirunelveli Medical College and Hospital. All police officers from the Sathankulam police station are being transferred," he said.
Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi has written to the Director General of Police, JK Tripathy, to take action against the police officers involved. She said that the officers should not be transferred, but suspended.
DMK leader MK Stalin also took to Twitter saying Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami should respond to the brutal killings.
On social media, A video shared by singer Suchitra has gone viral. In the video, she claims that the father-son duo were brutally tortured for days before announcing their deaths.
#Suchitra open up on #Thoothukudi issue#சாத்தான்குளம்_படுகொலை#JusticeforJayarajAndFenix #JayarajandFenix #Tuticorin #Sathankulam #Killed #PoliceCustody #PoliceBrutality #LockupDeath #TamilLivesMatter #PoliceBrutalityPandemic pic.twitter.com/yxzLBcddzx
— Raj07 (@Raj53554338) June 26, 2020
On Twitter, #JusticeForJayarajAndFenix trends, as the incident has led to uproar throughout the nation.
Jeyaraj and his son Fenix were physically and sexually assaulted by Balakrishna, Raghu Ganesh, Murugan and Muthuraj for keeping their mobile shop open for an extra 5 mins. They were both assaulted so badly it resulted in their death. SPEAK UP. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix pic.twitter.com/2nVtS9e5mp
— hazel (@ltwmi) June 26, 2020
INDIANS NEED YOUR HELP RN, PLEASE STOP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND SPREAD THIS, WE NEED TO STAND UP AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY EVERYWHERE. KEEPING YOUR SHOP OPEN AFTER A CERTAIN TIME IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO BE RAPED AND TORTURED. ACAB. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix pic.twitter.com/V7JXfg8pIE
— 𝙂𝘼𝙍 🤯 (@harrysdyke) June 26, 2020
What kind of sick system enables govt. officers to murder a father and son for a “lockdown violation”? #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Khyati Shree (@KhyatiShree_) June 26, 2020
This is tragic & absolute National Shame. It sends shivers down my spine even reading about it. We all must stand together against this barbaric brutality. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix https://t.co/Srn5GFaG7p
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) June 26, 2020