The death of Jayaraj and Bennix, the father-son duo from Sathankulam in Thoothukudi, allegedly due to police brutality while in custody, has created furore in Tamil Nadu. Earlier on Wednesday. Tamil Nadu government had announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to the family. Now, on Friday, both the AIADMK and the state’s main opposition party, DMK, have announced a relief of Rs 25 lakh each to the family of the deceased.
தந்தை-சகோதரனை இழந்து, மூன்று பெண்பிள்ளைகளுடன் தவிக்கும் ஜெயராஜ் குடும்பத்துக்கு திமுக சார்பில் ரூ.25 லட்சம் நிதியுதவி வழங்கப்படுகிறது.#TNPoliceBrutality -ல் குற்றமிழைத்தவர்களுக்கு தண்டனை கிடைக்க அனைத்து சட்டப் போராட்டங்களுக்கும் திமுக துணை நிற்கும். #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix pic.twitter.com/Yd95KNMFTd— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) June 26, 2020
மாண்புமிகு முதல்வர் திரு. எடப்பாடி கே. பழனிசாமி, மாண்புமிகு துணை முதல்வர் திரு. ஓ.பன்னீர்செல்வம் ஆகியோரின் முக்கிய அறிவிப்பு.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) June 26, 2020
சாத்தான்குளம் சம்பவத்தில் மரணமடைந்த திரு. ஜெயராஜ், திரு. பெண்ணிக்ஸ் குடும்பத்தாருக்கு கழகத்தின் சார்பில் ரூ. 25,00,000 குடும்பநல நிதியுதவி வழங்கப்படும் pic.twitter.com/47DaqjRJT1
This comes even as the bereaved family finally received Jayaraj and Bennix’s bodies to hold their final rites on Thursday, after having initially refused to accept the bodies in protest. Family members received their bodies only after the Madras High Court took suo motu cognisance of the case and directed officials to videograph the entire postmortem process.
Protests broke out in Thoothukudi soon after the news of their deaths broke and tension prevailed even as their bodies were lowered into the ground at Sathankulam cemetery. Scores had come to pay their last respects to the duo, whose bodies were kept outside their shops in Sathankulam. Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi too visited the victims’ house later on Thursday.
While the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court expects a police report to be filed on June 26, media reports have emerged indicating the police excess meted out to the two. According to this report in The Hindu, when Jayaraj and Bennix were taken to Sathankulam Government Hospital on June 20 for a medical examination, after having been arrested the previous night, the two had high blood pressure with baton marks and blood clots all over the body, indicating violence while in custody.
Jayaraj and Bennix, who ran a woodwork shop and a mobile shop in Sathankulam, were arrested by the police on June 19, allegedly for keeping their shops open beyond timing stipulated by the lockdown. Two days later, they were lodged at Kovilpatti Sub Jail, and it was here late in the night on June 22 that Bennix complained of chest pain and was taken to Kovilpatti Government Hospital where he died. Early the next morning, Jayaraj too complained of discomfort and passed away at the government hospital.
So far, a First Information Report has been filed against Sathankulam Inspector Srithar, Sub-Inspectors Ragu Ganesh and Balakrishnan. All three of them have also been suspended. All other police officers from the Sathankulam station have been transferred and a judicial probe is underway.