Vivekananda Kumar was killed after allegedly being knocked off his moving bike by Madurai police, who attempted to stop him.

Madurai man dies due to alleged police brutality wife moves HC for compensation
news Court Friday, August 30, 2019 - 16:59

More than two months after her husband was killed in alleged case of police brutality, V Gajapriya, has filed a civil suit with the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday to be justly compensated for her husband’s death.

Her husband Vivekananda Kumar who was running a small tyre shop near Simmakkal was the sole bread winner for his family of four - his ageing father, wife and 1.5-year-old son. He was, however, killed after he was allegedly knocked down by police in Madurai while riding his bike on June 15. Now since his demise, his family has lost their pillar of support and their only source of income, stated Gajapriya in her petition.

Gajapriya, who has completed B Com, sought Rs 50 lakhs as compensation and employment in a government service based on her qualification “All these years I was brought up in a children’s home and that it was only in the past two years I enjoyed love and affection through my husband and it was plucked so soon rendering me as a destitute widow,” states her petition.

Justice V Bharathidasan who heard her case on Wednesday has sent a notice to Home Secretary, Madurai Collector and Commissioner of Police in addition to a private notice to the head constable under suspension. The next hearing has been adjourned by four weeks.

‘Death due to police brutality and negligence,’ say family

On the night of June 15 around 11.30 pm, 40-year-old Vivekanada Kumar who was riding back home along with his employee and friend Saravana Kumar was allegedly stopped by the police at the Annamalai Theatre bridge near Simmakal, Madurai. 

Vivekananda Kumar’s relative allege that the police stopped him with a lathi to his chest, but as he was still riding the bike, he was knocked off the two-wheeler. Police, however, maintain that Vivekananda Kumar rammed his bike into a wall, falling down due to the collusion.

Having fallen down from his bike, Vivekanada Kumar remained unconscious while his friend Saravana Kumar sustained minor injuries. However, 45-minutes passed by the time the two men could be taken to a hospital. All the while, Vivekanada Kumar remained unconscious, say his relatives.

Less than 24-hours later, Vivekanada Kumar was pronounced dead by the doctors at Madurai Government Hospital. Post-mortem results have revealed his cause of death to be head injury and haemorrhage in the brain in addition to fractured ribs. 

His relatives allege that the accident was caused due to police brutality and negligence. “My brother was lying unconscious for about 45 minutes before he could be taken to the hospital. This is the police’s fault. After postmortem, it was confirmed that his ribs were fractured. How can it happen if the police had not hit him hard with the lathi?” alleges Sabari, Vivekananda Kumar’s younger brother. 

He further adds, “The entire incident has been caught on CCTV. No one, except the police have access to this. If anyone were to watch it, it would become evident that the police are to blame for my brother’s death.”

Sabari alleges that the police refused to take their complaint and instead went ahead to file an FIR against Vivekananda and Saravana Kumar, the pilion rider. An FIR was registered by the TIW–I (Traffic investigation Wing-I) Madurai City against the two while Vivekanada Kumar was still alive under IPC Sections 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). Upon his death, the charges were altered into Section 304A (causing death by negligence).  However, the charges were filed against the pillion rider. 

Vivekananda's family filed an online complaint against police officials when those at the the station refused to register their complaint. However, head constable Ramesh Babu, who was present during the incident has been suspended from force following an inquiry with further investigations pending.

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