A fifth police officer should be arrested today, ” said K Shankar, a senior police officer of the criminal investigation Department in the indian State of Tamil Nadu, where the alleged murders occurred.
The death of the couple last month has rekindled the outrage in India about the police brutality, the family members of the men, politicians and human rights activists, alleging that officers had tortured the couple before dying.
On Tuesday, the highest court in the Tamil Nadu said that there was enough evidence to indict the police officers involved in the murder case, on the basis of the injuries of the victims, and official statements.
CNN has repeatedly tried to contact the local police for comment on the allegations. The police report initial note that the men suffered their injuries during their arrest. Officers have not commented publicly on the allegations.
In a press release issued Monday, the non-profit Initiative of the Commonwealth for human rights said the case showed the need for India to enact strong laws to prohibit and prosecute acts of torture and deaths in detention by the police.
“This sends a chilling message about how the system is broken, the failure of the police and political leaders to strengthen measures of responsibility for the illegality,” said the chairman of the executive committee indian Wajahat Habibullah in a press release.
Habibullah also called on India to ratify the United Nations Convention against torture.
The indian politician Rahul Gandhi has presented its condolences to the family and called on the government to ensure justice for the two men.
On the night of 19 June, Jeyaraj and his son Bennicks – that are not identified in court documents only by their first names – were selling mobile phones in their store Sathankulam, according to court documents.
After having refused the requests of the police to comply with the rules of lock of the coronavirus stipulating that shops must close for the night, they were arrested, according to the documents. Tamil Nadu has recorded more than 90 000 cases of coronavirus, and more than 1 200 deaths, which makes it one of the most adversely affected States of India.
The father and the son have been placed in detention the next day after having been subjected to a medical examination, according to court documents.
At 19: 45 on 22 June, Bennicks has been admitted to the hospital, where he died less than two hours later, according to court documents. A little over an hour after the death of his son, Jeyaraj was admitted at the same hospital and died early the next morning, according to the documents.
It is not known how the two men died. The High Court of Madras, the highest court of the State, has ordered an autopsy of their bodies, but the results have not yet been made public.
In a video statement on the local media, the daughter of Jeyaraj, Persis – who uses only his first name – said that his father had been pushed to the ground and beaten by the cops.
According to Persis, when his brother, Bennicks, has seen his father be beaten, he tried to stop him but was also attacked.
A broader problem
The indian police ” regularly uses the procedures of torture and arrest, with contempt, with little or no responsibility “, according to Human Rights Watch.
CNN has contacted several senior officers of Tamil Nadu on allegations of brutality against the father and the son, but received no response.
On Tuesday, the High Court of Madras stated that the local police had ” attempted to do away with evidence “.
“In fact, they have been sufficiently emboldened to even intimidate the bailiff to put spokes in the wheel of his investigation,” said the court.
In 2018, the last year for which statistics are available, 70 deaths were recorded across India in custody by police, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Tamil Nadu has recorded 12 deaths – a disproportionately high number, given that the State represents about 5% of the population of India.
In India, some on social networks have linked the death of Jayaraj and Bennicks the murder of George Floyd by police officers in the United States, which led to protests against the excessive use of the police for Blacks.
But Shashi Tharoor, member of parliament and former representative of India to the UN, has the opposite reaction to the deaths in India, where the case has not triggered a wave of protests, the outpouring in the world after the death of Floyd.