The death in police custody of a father and son arrested last Friday for keeping their mobile phone shop in Tuticorin open beyond permitted hours has led to anger across Tamil Nadu. Shops in the state will be shut tomorrow in protest against what the family of father-son pair alleges was police brutality in jail.
Family members of the store owners – Jayaraj and his son Pennis — have refused to accept their bodies after the post-mortem last night. “It’s a twin murder. There has been inexplicable torture, which as a woman I can’t even describe. We will not collect the bodies until murder cases are filed against them (police),” said Jayaraj’s daughter Persis.
According to a First Information Report filed on the basis of a police complaint, the two men rolled on the ground and that is how they suffered internal injuries. They were also accused of throwing abuses at the police and threatening to kill them. Charges against them include criminal intimidation, defiance and abuse.
Human Rights group People’s Watch has even pointed fingers at the Magistrate. Henri Tiphagne of the group says: “Our enquiry sadly reveals the Judicial Magistrate had not personally met the men before they were remanded. They were hidden in the van. This is contrary to law. Had he met them, they could have narrated what happened and showed the injuries as a result of torture”.
A few years ago, the police in Tuticorin came under scrutiny over firing that killed 13 anti-Sterlite protestors.