The Tamil Nadu police have suspended the services of volunteer organisation ‘Friends of Police’ (FoP) for the next two months at least.
In an oral instruction communicated to all the district police offices on Sunday, senior police officers instructed the recall of identity cards issued to the volunteers and instructed the police not to engage them in any police-related activities, as per a report in The Hindu.
The move comes after allegations of FoP volunteers also taking part in the assault of P Jayaraj and J Bennix at the Sathankulam police station on June 19 along with the policemen in the station. The police had arrested the father-son duo on June 19 for allegedly violating the lockdown norms on shop timings, by keeping their mobile shop open beyond 8 pm, which is the time allowed by the district administration.
A few other media reports stated that the ban against engaging FoP volunteers will be in force in six districts in Tamil Nadu — Trichy, Ariyalur, Pudukkottai, Perambalur, Karur and Villupuram. Due to the ban, FoP volunteers will not be allowed to work with the police in patrolling, vehicle checks and arrests. However, they can do social work in these districts — like regulating traffic — for which there is no ban. In Chennai also, the FoPs shall be engaged only in volunteer work and awareness campaigns, according to the city Commissioner of Police.
FoP, which is based out of Chennai, recently issued a statement that said that there were no volunteers attached to the Sathankulam police station and hence there is no way that its volunteers could have engaged in the custodial torture of Jayaraj and Bennix. However, several eyewitnesses and Bennix’s sister Percy had alleged that on the night of June 19, FoP volunteers also took an active part in assaulting Jayaraj and Bennix at the station.