BSP leader Armstrong murder: Court grants five-day police custody of 11 accused

Chennai police had approached the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Egmore for seven-day custody.
BSP leader Armstrong murder: Court grants five-day police custody of 11 accused
X/Nabila Jamal
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A Chennai court has granted five-day police custody of the 11 accused men in the murder case of BSP state president K Armstrong. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Egmore on July 11, granted police custody of V Ponnai Balu, K Manivannan, K Thiruvengatam, D Ramu, J Santhosh, S Thirumalai, G Arul, D Selvaraj who had surrendered soon after the murder and of three others, Gokul, Vijay and Sivasakthi who were arrested later. The hearing was reportedly conducted through video conferencing. The police had however approached the court for seven-days of custody. 

Armstrong was gruesomely hacked to death on July 5 outside his home in Perambur. On the morning of July 6, news channels reported that eight men had surrendered at the Sembian police state within whose jurisdiction Armstrong was murdered.  The following day three more men—Gokul, Vijay and Sivasakthi were taken into custody and questioned. The police have maintained that the 11 men including the prime accused Ponnai Balu had murdered Armstrong in retaliation for the killing of Arcot Suresh, an A+ history sheeter. Ponnai is the brother of Arcot Suresh. 

Meanwhile, the BSP, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Dalit activists and Armstrong’s acquaintances have been unanimous in rejecting the police’s stance that this was a gang-related killing and have termed the murder a “political assassination”.  They have further expressed their disbelief that the 11 arrested men have anything to do with murder and have alleged that the “real culprits” have not been caught yet. Armstrong was a well-known figure in the Ambedkarite Buddhist movement and a widely loved leader in north Chennai where he lived.  

His murder has also drawn widespread criticism regarding the condition of law and order in the state under the ruling-DMK. Earlier on July 8, in  a major reshuffle, Sandeep Rai Rathore was replaced as the Chennai Commissioner of Police by IPS officer A Arun. Rathore was also demoted from Director General of Police (DGP) to DGP, Training.

Read: What we know so far about BSP leader Armstrong’s murder in Chennai 

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