The Friends of Police (FoP) training centre, on Thursday, dismissed allegations of their members being involved in the Sathankulam custodial deaths case. The state administrator for the initiative stated that the volunteers that Jayaraj and Bennix's friends met outside the station, were part of coronavirus related work and not members of FoP.
Multiple reports have quoted the victims' family stating that FoP volunteers were also involved in the assault of the father and son and that they should be booked in the murder case as well. Authorities, however, have denied this and stated that volunteers in the Sathankulam police station were not registered as FoP. FoP is an initiative by IPS officer Prateep V Philips who is currently the DGP of the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID). It involves enrolling local youth to aid the police and allow for the community to engage with the authorities.
"There have been news reports alleging the involvement of Friends of Police volunteers in the Sathankulam case. We vehemently deny these rumours. We understand that the local police station had enlisted 'volunteers' for corona related work. They are not members of FoP. All volunteers cannot be branded as FoP members. The volunteers in question have neither been registered as FoP members, nor have they attended any training sessions or been issued an FoP identity card," stated a press release issued by the Friends of Police documentation and multimedia training centre.
The release further stated FoP supports the victims who met a painful death.
"There is a strict procedure in place for membership and a stringent code of conduct for induction into FoP. We stand in complete solidarity with the families, friends and social circle of the victims of the tragic incident. We strongly urge everyone not to believe or spread any rumours to this effect. The law shall take its course and the truth will come out," the FoP centre has said.
They have further alleged that certain persons have used fake or unauthorised identity cards and referenced FoP.
"The FoP code of conduct expressly bars anyone with any political affiliation from joining the organisation. FoP is seeking details from the authorities about what prima facie appears to be a case of false representation and unauthorised use of the FoP name. Appropriate legal action will be initiated against anyone masquerading as FoP members and tarnishing the fair name of our organisation," it stated.