The time stamp on the CCTV camera says 10.21 pm on April 11, when a sub-inspector can be seen entering an eatery that has its shutter half down. Upon entering the establishment, he uses his lathi and hits a man, who is sitting and having his food on a table, twice. As the man runs away in fear, the policeman moves inside menacingly. The CCTV footage from a small hotel called Sri Raja Hotel near the Gandhipuram bus stand in Coimbatore has once again revealed the violent ways in which many police personnel deal with the general public.
The footage submitted by the hotel owner as part of his complaint shows a sub-inspector from the Kattoor police station thrashing five customers and employees of the eatery alleging that the hotel remained open even after the recently mandated 11 pm deadline owing to COVID-19 cases. Mohanraj, the owner of the hotel has given a complaint to the Coimbatore Commissioner in this regard and alleged that five people were injured in the incident. The sub-inspector identified as Muthu decided to use his lathi on customers who had stopped at the hotel for a meal, even though revised COVID-19 norms permit hotels to operate with 50% capacity till 11 pm.
The CCTV footage shows Muthu thrashing people inside the eatery, five men in total, a woman too has got injured in the incident. He thrashes three of them twice, while seemingly shouting at them. A group of men and women can be seen hurriedly collecting their bags and leaving their food midway as the sub inspector thrashes the men one by one. He can then be seen moving to a table with three women. Though Muthu does not hit the women, his body language is menacing and the women can be seen cowering in fear as her friend consoles her.
Watch the CCTV footage
Following a complaint from the owner, the Coimbatore City Police Commissioner has directed the sub-inspector be transferred to the police control room.
In his complaint, Mohanraj said, â€śA police officer told us to close the shop by 10 pm since police inspector Latha will come for night patrol. So accepting that, we lowered the shutter and were serving food for five members who arrived from Hosur. They were late for their bus and wanted to have a quick bite.
Speaking to the media, Mohanraj said, "What mistake did we make? Is serving food a sin? He thrashed my employees and they are scared to come to work. Why are you depriving them of their livelihood?â€ť
â€śHowever, sub-inspector Muthu entered the shop and started to attack the customers and employees. In the attack, five peopleâ€” Kathiravel, Arumugam, Satheesh Kumar, Bhumi and Jayalakshmiâ€”got injured. All the shop owners are scared if there will be another Sathankulam-like incident after posting Latha as the inspector,â€ť he alleged and requested the Commissioner to take action against the officials.
Two traders, Jayaraj and his son Bennix, died due to custodial torture by the police personnel of Sathankulam police station. The policemen arrested the father-son duo in June 2020 alleging that they had kept the shop open after lockdown. After the brutal attack, Bennix complained of chest pain and died on July 22 while Jayaraj died in the wee hours of June 23. This is a case that rocked India and the police department in Tamil Nadu had claimed that they will sensitise their staff.