M Sathish Muthu distanced himself from the post and claimed that his account had been hacked.

TN cop who put up derogatory post about Sathankulam custodial deaths suspended
news Sathankulam Custodial Deaths Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 15:38

Sathish Muthu, who worked as an officer with the Armed Reserve Force of the Tamil Nadu police was suspended following a derogatory post that he put up pertaining to the Sathankulam custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix.

In a Facebook comment, Sathish wrote that they have got their ‘next lockup victims’. “Hey brothers, come come. We were looking for the next lockup death victim. Now we've got them. Do you have rectums bros?” he said (translated from Tamil). The reference to rectums in his post comes after several reports stated that Jayaraj and Bennix were sexually assaulted in custody.

On Sunday, Sathish distanced himself from the post, and claimed that his account had been hacked. “I am posting this with sadness that the above post has hurt you. There is no connection between me and the above post. In relation to the Sathankulam incident, in order to cause more dishonour to the police force, someone has used my ID and posted this. Therefore I request everyone to consider me as their brother and forgive,” he wrote.

In another post, he claimed that his account had been hacked for the second time this month, and that he has lodged a complaint with Cyber Crime department.

Jayaraj was taken to the Sathankulam Police Station on June 19 for 'violating' lockdown norms by allegedly extending business hours of their cellphone shop. Later, Bennix, who reached the station to enquire about his father, was also taken into custody. Over the hours that the two were inside the police station, the violence is said to have escalated, with the two profusely bleeding.

Eyewitnesses have said that the two men were tortured by the policemen at the Sathankulam police station. They were reportedly assaulted by eight policemen and five ‘volunteers of police’ personnel.

The following day, on June 20, the police took the duo to a government hospital in town for medical examination and then to the Judicial Magistrate for the remand proceedings. The hospital issued the medical certificate and the magistrate granted remand even though Jayaraj and Bennix were bleeding, according to witnesses. The father and son were sent to the Kovilpatti sub-jail the same day. 

Two days later, Bennix complained of chest pain and died at the Kovilpatti government hospital around 10.30 pm on June 22. Hours later, Jayaraj, who was also admitted to the hospital, died around 5.40 am on June 23.

Leaked hospital records showed that 58-year-old Jayaraj and 31-year-old Bennix had multiple marks, including in the gluteal region.

Sub Inspectors Balakrishnan and P Raghuganesh have been suspended in connection with the deaths — and both have been found to have a history of custodial violence. Inspector P Sridhar has also been suspended.

The incident sparked massive outrage, with many, including celebrities and politicians condemning the rising incidents of police brutality in Tamil Nadu. 

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