Thoothukudi: 31-year-old Bennicks along with his 59-year-old father Jayaraj were arrested for keeping their shops open few minutes post lockdown hours on June 19.
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.
They were sent to Kovilpatti sub-jail. The same evening, Bennix allegedly complained of chest pain and Jayaraj had a high fever. Both were taken to the Kovilpatti government hospital, where Bennix died on Monday evening and Jayaraj died on Tuesday morning.
Earlier, chest pain and fever were said to have been cause of duos death. However, the post-mortem reports unshielded the brutality on Bennix and Jayaraj in police custody.
Thrashed for two hours behind locked doors
On June 24, Jayaraj’s daughter Percy told the media that the policemen had pushed her father by his neck to the floor and beaten him. “When my brother questioned the police as to why they were beating our father, the police hit him also. My father got tense seeing this. The police then thrashed them both for almost two hours, locking the door. My brother’s friends, who are also lawyers, had gone to the station but they were not allowed to meet them. They assaulted my brother and father so much,” she said.
“Jayaraj and Bennicks were thrashed again after they were taken to the police station, even as some of us were witnessing it from the entrance of the police station,” the relatives of the duo said.
Metal objects inserted in rectum
According to a Chennai-based news site called The Federal, eyewitnesses claimed that the two were sexually assaulted in police custody. Jayaraj was already a heart patient and the police had repeatedly kicked him on his chest. They had allegedly inserted a metal objects into duos rectums. Both of them were allegedly bleeding profusely from their rectum when they were released from jail.
They later suffered an internal haemorrhage and died on the way to hospital on June 22.
Changed 7 lungies in 5 hours
‘Between 7 am and 12 pm on June 20, the father and son had changed at least seven lungies (waistcloth) each as they had become wet due to blood oozing from their rectums,’ The Federal quoted a friend of Bennick’s as saying.
Declared fit by doctors
They were taken to a hospital, where the doctor declared them fit allegedly on the insistence of the local inspector. Although the father and the son were taken to the judicial magistrate, they reportedly refrained from telling the truth because of threats from the police.
Some friends of Bennicks were present at the police station when the duo was taken into custody, and they alleged that for three hours, all they heard was screams of pain from both of them. ‘Throughout the night, the duo cried for help and people residing about 500 meters away from the station could hear that,’ the eyewitness reportedly said.
Protests across district
Trader union bodies, political outfits, activists, and the public at large have condemned the police atrocity and have staged protests in various parts of the town.
Their demands include the arrest and suspension of the police officers responsible for the incident. Compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family members of the deceased. A government job to one member of the deceased’s family.
They have also demanded that an impartial doctor should be present during the autopsy.