22-year-old TN man dies a day after release from police custody, family alleges torture

The young man was identified as L Manikandan, a college student from Ramanathapuram district. But police have denied allegations of custodial torture.
Manikandan in a blue shirt
Manikandan in a blue shirt

A 22-year-old man was found dead in his house in Ramanathapuram district, one day after he was released from police custody. L Manikandan was found lying motionless in his house in Neerkozhiyenthal village near Mudkulathur in the wee hours of Sunday, December 5. Following this, his family has alleged that the police were responsible for his death due to custodial torture. The family has also demanded action against the police officers of the Keezhathooval station who questioned Manikandan.

On Saturday, officers of the Keezhathooval station, who were conducting vehicle checks on the Paramakudi-Keezhathooval road, stopped Manikandan. The 22-year-old student studying in Kamuthi in Ramnad was passing by on a two-wheeler, with a friend riding pillion. According to reports, Manikandan did not pay heed to the police officers and continued to speed without stopping. This led to the police chasing and catching him. He was brought to the Keezhathooval police station where he was questioned for 2.5 hours.

Following this, the police rang up Manikandan’s mother and asked her to pick him up from the station. Manikandan had allegedly told his mother that he had been beaten up by some policemen. A few hours later, on Sunday morning, he was found frothing from his mouth at home and rushed to the Mudkulathur General Hospital where he was declared dead. Following this, his family blockaded a road and demanded justice.

Meanwhile, Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police E Karthik IPS denied allegations of custodial torture. He added that the police had CCTV (Close Circuit TV), audio recordings and other evidence to prove that there was no custodial torture in Manikandan’s case. CCTV footage clips from social media show Manikandan walking into the police station in a light blue shirt, while a second CCTV clip shows a senior officer questioning Manikandan without physically touching him.

SP Karthik added that Manikandan did not cooperate during the vehicle check-ups, and that the police had to track him down and bring him back. However, they noticed that Manikandan’s two-wheeler license plate did not contain 65 (corresponding to Ramnad district). Following this, the Keezhathooval police took Manikandan to the station for a short enquiry.

SP Karthik added that soon after he was brought to the station, the police officers informed Manikandan’s mother. According to the SP, Manikandan’s mother was present throughout the enquiry proceedings. Manikandan’s mother, a village head and one more person arrived at the police station on Saturday evening and picked Manikandan up. The police officers also said that there were no injury marks on his body. He added that as Manikandan was a student the police had not registered an FIR (First Information Report) against him and let him off with a warning. The reasons for Manikandan’s death will be confirmed after the autopsy.

However, Manikandan’s family has refused to accept his body.

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