TN custodial death of Dalit man: SC Commission demands suspension of 5 cops

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Friday asked Tamil Nadu’s (DGP) to suspend and arrest five police officials in relation to the custodial death of Vignesh, a 25-year-old Dalit man in Chennai.

Vignesh who was arrested for possession of marijuana in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai on 18 April 18, died the next day after reportedly suffering seizures while in police custody. He was taken to the hospital, where he was declared dead.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes demanded that Vignesh’s family should be compensated for their loss according to the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Tamil Nadu DGP was asked to submit an interim report and an action taken report (ATR) within two weeks to the national commission.

Last week, the Chennai Police Crime Branch-Crime Investigative Department (CB-CID) had issued summons to nine police officials in connection with the case. As protests grew louder, Tamil Nadu DGP on 23 April suspended three police officers in the alleged custodial death case

Another Dalit youth Suresh was also arrested with Vignesh for possession of marijuana in Chennai on 18 April.

The commission also demanded the discharge of all charges against Suresh and asked for him to be released immediately through court. The commission also sought police protection for Suresh.

The commission’s letter to DGP comes soon after Arun Haldar, the Vice Chairman of the National Commission for SC/ST, arrived in Tamil Nadu to inspect the Secretariat Colony Police Station where Vignesh died of injuries while in custody.

“We have clear observations. The Prevention of Atrocity Act has now been added and the case has been transferred to CB-CID who are waiting for the post mortem report. The police have not done what they were supposed to do,” he said.