Vadivu’s 28-year-old son Mahendran was picked up by former Sathankulam Sub Inspector Raghuganesh in the wee hours of May 23 in an unrelated case.

Mahendran Sathankulam police brutality victim
news Custodial death Friday, July 03, 2020 - 12:53

Vadivu, resident of Asirvadhapuram near Sathankulam in Thoothukudi district is distraught. Over the phone, Vadivu, who is hard of hearing, is barely able to control her tears. “He was the one taking care of me. Now they took him away from me. I’m not even confident enough to go and talk to people in the village; I can’t hear so well, you see. I’m just here… I’m just alive,” she says between sobs.

Vadivu’s second son Mahendran (28) was picked up by Sathankulam Sub Inspector Raghuganesh and his team in the wee hours of May 23, from his grandmother’s house in Pappankulam (Thirunelveli district), a little over 80 kilometres Sathakulam (Thoothukudi district), in connection to a murder in which his elder brother was an accused.

A day later, he was sent back home but something was deeply amiss. “He never spoke. My son came back unable to even talk to me. I took him to Thoothukudi government hospital on June 11 hoping he’d talk to me. He was there for three days. But I was only able to bring him back home dead,” Vadivu is unconsolable.

On June 11 Mahendran was taken to the Thoothukudi government Hospital, when his mother noticed that his condition was not improving. On June 13, he passed away. The CT scan taken at the hospital revealed that Mahendran had suffered a concussion in his brain leading to the paralysis of one side of his body and finally his death. What led to the death of this young man? 

‘Consider your son dead’

Raghuganesh had first visited Vadivu and her daughter-in-law on May 20 at their house, asking for the whereabouts of her first son Durai (35) named in the murder case of Jayakumar, a resident of south Paikulam. “They came to my house asking where my first son was. I told them that he had gone to the bazaar. They also visited my daughter-in-law and threatened her. Three days later, they picked up my second son from where he was staying,” Vadivu explains.

Both Mahendran and Durai work for daily wages as masons in construction sites. In Jayakumar’s murder case, Durai was named one among the nine suspects by the deceased’s brother. Durai is currently under custody.

Raghuganesh

“My mother called me frantically and said they had taken away Mahendran. They had apparently beat him in front of my mother (his grandmother). When she tried to stop them, the officer had said, ‘Consider your grandson dead.’ I cannot bear to think what he must have gone through at the station,” she cries.

Supreme Court Advocate Ramasamy has now filed a writ petition with the Madras High Court seeking legal action against all those responsible for Mahendran’s death. Former Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan, Inspector Srithar and sub-inspector Raghuganesh have been named as being responsible for his death.

Thoothukudi advocate Jayachandran who is also working on the case explains, “They did not have any reason to take Mahendran into custody. Only his brother was named but his mother claims he is innocent too. That being the case, how can they take someone (Mahendran) into custody without FIR?” he asks.

Silently suffered for two weeks

Mahendran was sent back home around 10.30 pm on May 24, when his elder brother surrendered himself. For about two weeks, he would go on to silently suffer at home, afraid of the threats made by Raghuganesh and Srithar.

Stalin, Traders Union Head in Mahendran’s village tells TNM that for a long time no one in the village knew about Mahendran’s condition. “They were threatened. The sub inspector had apparently told him that if he told anyone of the assault, his entire family would be put in danger. They were afraid and silently suffered for about two weeks,” he says.

“Mahendran is a very quiet boy. He keeps to himself and he was taking care of his mother, having lost his father at a very young age. His elder brother Durai is married and has his own family,” he adds.

Advocate Jayachandran adds another detail that comes as a shocking revelation. “When the villagers came to know about Mahendran’s condition they submitted a complaint to former SP Arun Balagopalan on June 20, just a day after Jayaraj-Bennix’s incident. He did not pay any attention to their complaint. Had he done so, we could have avoided the loss of two more lives.”

Furthermore, he continues, “Raghuganesh had threatened Mahendran’s family so much so that they received his body even without conducting post mortem. Had they done so they would have been able to prove that he died due to injuries that were inflicted upon him.”

“Mahendran was a healthy young man who had no bad habits,” Stalin adds.

Sathankulam Sub Inspector Raghuganesh was arrested on Wednesday in the case of custodial torture and deaths of Thoothukudi father and son duo Jayaraj and Bennix. And Vadivu hopes to find justice for her son Mahendran’s unfortunate death. She has filed a writ petition at the Madras High Court seeking legal action against all those responsible for her son’s death. The case will come up for hearing on Monday.

Also watch: CCTV visuals of Jayaraj and Bennix expose cops’ lies in FIR

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