The duo was arrested by the police on June 19 for allegedly keeping their shop open beyond lockdown timings.

Jayaraj and his son Bennix
news Sathankulam custodial deaths Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 08:19

As Tamil Nadu continues to demand justice for the deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix, the father and son who were tortured by the Thoothukudi police, more evidence has emerged, confirming what their friends and family have been alleging all along — that Jayaraj and Bennix were assaulted and were injured while they were remanded to judicial custody.

A portion of the record maintained by the doctor in Kovilpatti sub-jail, which has been leaked, clearly notes that Jayaraj and Bennix had injuries on June 20, the day after they were brought from police custody.

The hospital record, accessed by TNM, stated that Jayaraj, 58, was diabetic and had hypertension. It stated that he had multiple marks on his gluteal region (buttocks), while Bennix, 31, also had multiple marks on his gluteal region. It said that Bennix was on medication for hypertension and had a sulcus or depression on his right knee and he was asked to come for an X-ray of the right knee and a blood sugar check up the next day.

In Jayaraj's case, the doctor at the hospital noted that he had to take medicine for blood sugar and hypertension and needed to come back for a review.

Jayaraj and Bennix were brought to the hospital on the morning of Saturday, June 20 before they were taken to D Saravanan, the Judicial Magistrate of Sathankulam, for the remand process.

The injuries on the gluteal region and other injuries are also recorded in the admission records maintained by the Kovilpatti sub-jail doctor. Times Now showed the jail register which reiterated the injuries and bleeding from their buttocks. The jail admission document mentioned that Bennix had swollen legs and wrists at the time of entering the prison. This entry document has been signed by Jayaraj, Bennix and two policemen from the Sathankulam police station, Chelladurai and Muthuraj.

These records confirm what several eyewitnesses have been saying since June 23 — that the two men were tortured in Sathankulam police station by the policemen. According to a report, eight policemen, including inspector Sridhar, sub-inspectors Balakrishnan and Raghuganesh and five ‘volunteers of police’ personnel, assaulted the two men in the station on the night of June 19.

Jayaraj and Bennix’s family and friends had also confirmed to TNM earlier that the duo had to change their shirt and lungi multiple times on June 20, before they went inside the hospital and at the judicial magistrate’s office since their clothes were soaked in blood.

The leaked portion of the hospital record, surprisingly, makes no mention of the bleeding. Relatives have alleged that this medical inspection, as mandated by the law, was a complete sham and that the duo was surrounded by police at the hospital.

At the magistrate's office too, there were many police personnel present and they ensured that Jayaraj and Bennix did not speak of their injuries to the magistrate. Several jurists have slammed the magistrate for not asking for a physical inspection.

One relative told TNM that before reaching the magistrate, the police also asked the family to bring dark-coloured lungis.

Bennix and Jayaraj were arrested by the Sathankulam police on June 19 for allegedly keeping their shop open beyond the lockdown timings specified by the Thoothukudi district administration. They were tortured in the police station by the police and then remanded in Kovilpatti sub-jail on June 20. Bennix complained of chest pain on June 22 night and died shortly after, while Jayaraj died the following morning at the Kovilpatti government hospital. The incident has sparked massive outrage across the society as people and politicians condemned the increasing incidents of police brutality in the state and demanded justice for the victims’ family.