TENKASI: N Kumaresan, a 25-year-old autorickshaw driver who was beaten up by cops at the Veerakeralampudur police station in Tenkasi district of Tamil Nadu last month, died in Tirunelveli Government Medical College and Hospital on Saturday night.
The death happened less than a week after the custodial torture unleashed by the Sathankulam police in neighbouring Tuticorin district claimed the lives of P Jayaraj, 58, and his son J Beniks, 31.
Based on the complaint lodged by Kumaresan’s father A Navaneethakrishnan, 55, with the Veerakeralampudur police against sub-inspector Chandrasekar and constable Kumar attached to the same station for torturing his son, the police registered a case of suspicious death against their two fellow men under Section 174(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedures. The duo would be placed under suspension as immediate action, police sources said.
Talking to TOI, Navaneethakrishnan, who lost the eldest of his three sons, said Kumaresan had a property dispute with Senthil. “On May 8, 2020, Kumaresan was called to the Veerakeralampudur station for an inquiry based on a complaint lodged by Senthil. Sub-inspector Chandrasekar slapped my son and verbally abused him. The SI grew furious when we asked him the reason for beating up my son,” he said.
“The next afternoon (May 9), Kumaresan was standing at his autorickshaw stand when the SI asked my son to go to the police station for an inquiry regarding the complaint against him,” he said.
“An argument broke out between them, and my son said both police and autorickshaw drivers are in khakhi. That was his only ‘mistake’. The SI took away my son’s mobile phone and asked him to come to the station the next day,” the father said.
Navaneethakrishnan said his son went to the Veerakeralampudur station at 11am on May 10 when the SI and constable Kumar unleashed brutality by beating him black and blue.
“They kicked him on his genitals and the chest with their boots, stood on both legs at the same time causing unbearable pain on his genitals and below the hip, made him bend and punched on his back,” the father lamented.
His son was then sent home with the warning that false cases would be foisted against him and his father if he revealed the torture to anyone.
On June 10, a month later, Kumaresan suffered breathing difficulties and vomited blood. “But he did not tell us about the torture,” he said.
He was admitted to a private hospital at Surandai. He spent three days in the hospital. When Kumaresan’s condition worsened, he was referred to Tirunelveli Government Medical College and Hospital (TVMCH).
“In the hospital, the doctor treating him said he suffered severe internal injuries on his kidney, lungs and other organs and asked the cause of injuries. It was only then Kumaresan revealed the torture even to us. We did not know about the brutality till then. The Veerakeralampudur police came to the hospital on June 14 to get a complaint from my son. They refused to record that my son was tortured by the police,” he said.
Last week, the father lodged a complaint with Tenkasi superintendent of police (SP) Suguna Singh seeking action against the errant police personnel. “But we were not even inquired about it. After 16 days of hospitalisation, my son died last night,” the father said.
Villagers of Veerakeralampudur and relatives of the deceased resorted to protest late at night demanding a case against the police personnel concerned and their arrest. Around 3am on Sunday, the police received a complaint from the father and registered a case of suspicious death.
Body of the youth is kept in the TVMCH for postmortem.