It was 11.30 am on June 20, when Jayaraj and Bennix got into a waiting Chevrolet car, outside the Sathankulam magistrate court in Thoothukudi district. This was the last time that their friends and family saw them alive. The father-son duo had been held in the local police station through the night of June 19 and allegedly faced brutal assault in the hands of the policemen present there.
Accompanied by two men in khaki, they travelled for the next three hours to the Kovilpatti sub jail where they were to be lodged for the next three days. But even as they left in the vehicle, the two left behind a horrific memory of this ride - a bloodstained blanket.
"When they were going to sit in the car, we knew their buttocks were injured, so we gave them a blanket to keep on the hard car seat and told them to sit on top of it for some cushion," says advocate Manimaran, who is also a family friend of the deceased. "The driver is also a friend of Bennix and we arranged the car for them to travel. When the car came back, the driver told us that the towel was stained with their blood and so we took it aside and kept it," he adds.
The blue and red towel on which the bloodstains are still visible has now been submitted to the Kovilpatti magistrate who is conducting an inquiry into these deaths, adding to the growing pile of evidence against the Sathankulam police.
Speaking to TNM, Shankar, a friend of Bennix says, "These blood stains happened despite them changing their veshti (dhoti) multiple times. The blood was showing through the white cloth and so the police asked for a black one. We gave that as well to Bennix and his father."
The driver of the vehicle who spoke to News 7 also admitted that he had seen bloodstains on the blanket when the two men left the car.
He further told the news channel , "They weren't walking normally, they were limping. There were no injuries visible but there was blood on the blanket."
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The bloodstained blanket added further authenticity to allegations that Jayaraj and Bennix had been beaten by the police and had sustained severe injuries on the gluteal region (buttocks).
Judicial inquiry held with doctor
On Wednesday, the magistrate also conducted an inquiry with Dr Venilla, who examined Jayaraj and Bennix at the Sathankulam government hospital. And while the young doctor has refused to speak to the media, Dr K Senthil, the president of the Tamil Nadu government doctors' Association, has been in touch with her.
Speaking to TNM, he elaborates on the injuries that were recorded on the bodies of both Jayaraj and Bennix on the day of their examination. They sustained injuries on their soles, gluteal region and hands when brought to the Sathankulam government hospital.
The duo were examined at 9 am on June 20, just two hours before they left for Kovilpatti.
"When they first came in, they were limping according to Dr.Vennila and when she asked them what happened, they said police were chasing them when they were riding on the bike and they fell," says Dr. Senthil. This is an explanation that was offered by police interviewed by Times Now as well. However, it has been refuted by the family of Jayaraj and Bennix who allege they may have been threatened to lie.
"She then examined them and recorded all injuries including aberration in the gluteal region of the size 2x3 centimetres," he adds.
Dr Senthil says that the government doctor did not find their injuries serious enough to have them admitted.
"There were no bleeding injuries, anal tears or lacerations as per her examination, " says Dr Senthil.
However friends and family of Jayaraj and Bennix have constantly insisted that father and son suffered from severe bleeding in the gluteal region. But Dr. Senthil denies that there was any pressure on Dr Vennila to tone down the nature of injuries sustained by Jayaraj and Bennix.