In Tamilnadu, 15 police killings but not a single chargesheet, Kanimozhi MP’s letter to NHRC (full text)

Inspite of the clear guidelines given by the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) and even after 4 days, No FIR has been filed in the custodial death of a father-son duo in Thoothukudi and no one has been arrested, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and parliamentarian Kanimozhi MP said on Saturday. “Why is the Govt/CM still silent. What are they waiting for?” she asked.

She has written to the NHRC seeking an inquiry against police personnel and others responsible in the matter relating to the custodial deaths of a father and son, Jayaraj and Benicks on Friday.

Kanimozhi alleged that there have been 15 incidents of custodial deaths in the State but not a single chargesheet has been filed against officials who were responsible for it.

Read the full text of the letter:

To:
National Human Rights Commission, India Manav Adhikar Bhawan Block-C, GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi – 110023 [email protected]

26.06.2020

Respected Sir,

Sub: Police Brutality —Abuse — Torture — Custodial Death of Father & Son in Tuticorin District — Collective Failure of Police and Other Officials — Gross Violation of Human Rights – Inquiry – Take Action

Background

I am the Member of Parliament representing Thoothukudi/ Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. I write this complaint seeking immediate action against all officials responsible for custodial deaths of Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks, who are constituents of Thoothukudi.

Mr. Jayaraj aged about 58 years and his son Mr. Bennicks aged about 31 years along with their family are residents of Sathankulam village in Tuticorin District of Tamil Nadu, India. Mr. Jayaraj and his son Mr. Bennicks have been running a woodwork shop and a mobile shop respectively for more than 10 years in Sathankulam Village and are respected by the fellow members of society.

On 19.06.2020, Mr. Jayaraj was picked up by the Sathankulam Police officials for allegedly keeping the shop open in the evening in violation of lockdown restrictions. When Mr. Jayaraj was taken to the police station, his son Mr. Bennicks had also gone to the Police station at that occasion Mr. Bennicks was also taken into custody by the Police officials of Sathankulam Village and an FIR was registered under various sections of the IPC such as 269, 188 and 506 (ii) against Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennie!s and were detained overnight for the purpose of investigation.

It is alleged that the while the Police were assaulting Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks in the guise of investigation, the police officials had inserted a baton into the anus of Mr. Bennicks that had triggered uncontrolled bleeding and further the Police officials had beaten Mr. Jayaraj and had kicked him on his chest multiple times with their shoes.

On 20.06.2020, the Police Officials had taken Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks to the doctor at the hospital as they were bleeding in their rectums, to obtain a fitness certificate from the Doctor, but the Doctor refused to give the fitness certificate on the ground that their Blood pressure was high. It is alleged that the Sathankulam Inspector Mr. Srithar had forced and coerced the doctor to provide the fitness certificates by disregarding the health conditions, ailments, and injuries of Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks. Subsequently, the Police Officials had taken Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks to the Judicial Magistrate’s house for producing him before the Magistrate, it is alleged that Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks were placed at least 50 meters away from the Magistrate and were surrounded by policemen when they were taken into judicial custody.

Following the aforesaid events, Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks were taken and held at the Kovilpatti Sub Jail that was around 100 Km away from Sathankulam Village. At the Kovilpatti Sub — Jail, Bennicks’s bleeding became uncontrollable and later due to internal haemorrhage he fell unconscious. The Prison Guards had sought treatment Mr. Bennicks at the State Hospital under the guise that Mr. Bennicks had suffered a heart attack. But unfortunately, Mr. Bennicks succumbed to injuries and died. Meanwhile, Mr. Jayaraj at the around time was admitted by the Police officials in the Government Hospital on the ground that he developed chest pain, following which Mr. Jayaraj had also passed away.

It is alleged that the father and the son who were arrested on the same day on 19.06.2020, died under mysterious circumstances within the time gap of 10 hours. As such, there is overwhelming direct and corroborative evidence that the police officials, the Magistrate who ordered remand, the medical officials who should have checked the health and physical fitness of Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks have collectively failed in discharging their duties.

The National Human Rights Commission has the powers under the Protection of Human Rights Act to take notice of such incidents, investigate and take necessary action against the erring government officials who are responsible for these custodial deaths.

I place the following Complaint for your notice and necessary action:

Human Rights Violations:

a. From the mere perusal of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, it can be seen that the acts of the Police Officials of the Sathankulam against the deceased Mr. Jayaraj and Mr. Bennicks clearly show that the police officials have clearly disregarded the basic human rights including the Right to life and dignity that has been enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

b. The Police officials of Sathankulam in all aspects have violated and have not followed the principles of arrest as laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of “D.K. Basu Vs. State of West Bengal”:

c. The Acts of the Police Officials are in clear violation of various provisions of the Police Standing Order issued by the State of Tamil Nadu including that of: 638. Treatment of Prisoners: (1) Prisoners are not to be subjected to needless indignity or harsh treatment.

I also bring to your notice that in the last two years, there have been more than 15 incidents of custodial deaths but not a single charge sheet has been filed against officials who were responsible. Therefore, the National Human Rights Commission may also take this into consideration and issue necessary directions in this regard so that no further lives are lost under police custody and stringent action is taken against all such officials who have abetted in gross human rights violations.

Sincerely,

Kanimozhi Karunanidhi