Posted on June 27, 2020, 1:17 PM IST
Thousands of people in Sathakulam, a place in the Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu, took to the streets to pay their respects for Jayaraj and Fenix, the father-son duo who were brutally tortured and killed while in police custody. From June 19, many in the district have been demanding justice for Jayaraj and Fenix. As the father-son duo’s coffins were carried from their residence, many people gathered to say their goodbyes.
Jayaraj and Fenix were one amongst the general public, ordinary middle-class individuals who were tortured and allegedly killed in police custody for one violation - keeping their mobile store open beyond the permitted time during the coronavirus lockdown.
Jayaraj (59) and his son Fenix Emmanuel (31) ran a mobile shop in Tuticorin. On June 19, around 8:15 pm Jayaraj was pulled up by the Sathankulam police officials who were on patrol. They upbraided him for exceeding the curfew by 15 minutes. On Saturday, Jayaraj was taken in by the police and soon after his son Fenix was arrested too when he went to enquire about his father’s arrest.
The two of them were booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (use of force to deter public servant from duty) 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 506(2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. In custody, they were allegedly tortured. They were later released and taken to a hospital where a doctor declared them fit despite eyewitnesses reporting that they beaten up and still bleeding.
Fenix’s lawyer who was there in the station when the police officials hit the father-son duo had a horrifying tale to share. Advocate S Manimaran, an eyewitness to the brutality said, “We were standing out and we were seeing the whole incident from outside through a glass gate. Fenix and his father were beaten. In the morning there was blood all over the place where they were sitting.”
He added that Fenix was beaten so brutally, his flesh was ripped off. He said, “I gave them four clothes to change. We had laid down a blanket in the seat of the car when we went to pick them up, Fenix had lost a lot of flesh on his back. He was a well-built man. The car driver was in tears seeing their state. The spot where Fenix sat was covered with blood, the place where Jayaraj was sitting was also all blood. The blankets are still with us. They were beaten to death.”
Other eyewitnesses have also claimed that Jayaraj and Fenix were bleeding from their rectum and were allegedly sodomised while in prison. Jayaraj and his son were later produced before the magistrate and the duo was sent to Kovilpatti sub-jail. That evening, both the father and son were taken to the Kovilpatti government hospital. Fenix died on Monday evening and the following morning Jayaraj succumbed to respiratory illness.
A huge furrow has taken up on the social media regarding their horrible custodial deaths. Social personalities, public and celebrities from South Industry have come out on the social media platforms demanding justice for the father-son duo. The family wants a murder case to be registered on the police officials who beat them brutally in custody. Meanwhile, the state government announced 10 lakh compensation each and has promised government job for a family member according to their eligibility. The opposition party DMK has announced Rs 25 lakh monitory assistance for the family.
(source: India Today)