Traders bodies across parts of Tamil Nadu heeded a call to keep shops closed on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the deaths of traders Jayarajan and Bennix.

The father and sonJayarajan and Bennix
news Coronavirus Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 21:03

Percy, the daughter of a 58-year-old man from Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district who died in police custody along with his son, refused to receive their bodies, following an autopsy on Wednesday. Percy, along with her mother, said that the family will not collect the bodies until officials take appropriate action against the police personnel responsible for what she termed a “double murder”.

Father-son duo Jayarajan (58) and Bennix (31) were traders in Sathankulam town running a woodwork shop. They had been arrested by the police on June 19 for reportedly keeping their shop open for an additional half hour during lockdown. 

Two days later, police remanded them at the Kovilpatti sub-jail. On June 22, Bennix complained of chest pain and swooned, following which he was taken to a government hospital where he succumbed to death. Soon, Jayarajan also felt uneasy and passed away at 4.30 am on Tuesday.

The family have alleged that the father and son were thrashed by the police while in custody and did not suffer health ailments, as alleged by the police department. 

“Police personnel should be punished for both the murders. My father and my brother have been humiliated and have bled to death in anguish. All the police personnel who were responsible for their deaths should get appropriate punishment. Another family should not suffer like our family. Just because they are in the department, can the police commit murder?” said Percy.

The daughter alleged that police personnel closed the doors of the police station when their lawyers visited the station. 

She further alleged that the bodies had injury marks on their rectum.

Percy said that the suspension of the officers will not suffice and demanded that the government take appropriate action.

On Wednesday, the Madras High Court said that it will suo moto hear a case on the role of the magistrate in imprisoning the two men. The hearing will take place on Thursday, following an appeal by lawyer AP Surya Prakasam. 

When the appeal came up before a Bench of Justices MM Sundresh and D Krishnakumar, the lawyer requested that the court hear arguments that the father-son duo could have died since the magistrate ordered them to be kept under custody. 

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has also directed the Director General of Police and Director, Investigation Wing of SHRC, Chennai to enquire and file a detailed report within eight weeks. The Commission has sought CCTV footage from the police station.

Traders down shutters

Traders bodies across Tamil Nadu extended a call for keeping shops closed on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the deaths of Jayarajan and Bennix.

Over 150 people participated in the protest conducted at the Virugambakkam market, of which 50 people were arrested by the police for violating lockdown norms. 

The state organiser of the Tamil Nadu Traders Association, Arun Kumar, said, “In Tamil Nadu 50,000 people have downed their shutters condemning the brutal murder of the two traders in Sathankulam. We gathered here to protest against the custodial death and to demand the government take appropriate action. We paid homage to the departed soul and raised slogans. Following this, the police arrested us and kept us in a marriage hall in Virugambakkam.”