By Pervez Bari
New Delhi: The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has vehemently condemned the custodial death of the two traders in a Tamil Nadu town wherein blood thirsty men in uniform claimed innocent lives. It may be mentioned here that two traders Jayaraj and Beniks were picked up on June 19, 2020 for breaching Coronavirus lockdown rules from Sathankulam, a town located 50 km south of the port city of Tuticorin, an FIR said. A government doctor’s report has confirmed that P. Jayaraj (58) and his son J. Benicks (31) had suffered multiple injuries, allegedly due to police torture at the Sattankluam police station in Thoothukudi district on the night of June 19.
SDPI national vice president Dehlan Baqwi in a statement said that the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in the US is still fresh in world consciousness. And yet another ghastly incident of police brutality has taken place, in our own southern state of Tamil Nadu. Why don’t the cops fear the law?. While police excesses of this magnitude evoke outrage, everyday incidents of lesser magnitude are something that most people, or at least those from the weaker socio-economic sections, have resigned themselves to. So, he wondered, what gives the cops a sense of impunity that they keep exceeding their authority?
Baqwi said it is clearly a case of abuse of power as the police are using curbs imposed due to the pandemic to enforce their own rulebook. A CRPC amendment clearly states that if an offence attracts less than 7 years imprisonment, no one should be arrested for the same. Even if they are arrested, the reasons should be clearly entered in the general diary of the police station. None of the procedures were followed. He pointed out custodial death of the two traders has again raised the spectre of police violence in Thoothukudi district and has put the present AIADMK government in a spot. It was in May 2018 that Thoothukudi witnessed police firing on anti-Sterile protesters in which 13 persons died and more than 100 got injured. The latest incident of custodial torture has once again shown the Tamil Nadu police in a poor light and has raised questions whether the lower level constabulary is having an unchecked run using the cover curbs imposed by Coronavirus.
Baqwi said the TN Govt. has handed over the case to CBI. Why not fast track court? CBI will sleep on it for years, what is the point? There are more and more acts of police violence around the world. The rulers continue not to take action against this. Police in India should be professionals. They should be trained in “Anger Management” through counselling and training, he suggested.