Tension gripped Panruti town on Thursday after a differently-abled person, who was questioned by the police regarding illegal sale of lottery tickets, died after being released from custody on Wednesday night prompting the suspension of a sub-inspector. Family members of Murugan (40), a daily wager, alleged that he was beaten to death by the police. Political parties and relatives of the deceased resorted to road blockades to demand action against the involved personnel.
Murugan, who had difficulty in walking, was a native of Jayapriya Nagar at Abatharanapuram in Vadalur. He eked out a living by collecting tips from bus conductors for announcing the arrival and departure of buses to passengers at Vadalur and Panruti bus stands. Murugan is survived by his wife Vasuki, a 10-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son.
Murugan was reportedly picked up by the police on Monday night for questioning regarding the illegal sale of lottery tickets at the bus stand. A few his relatives also went to the station on Tuesday. “When we went to the Vadalur police station, Murugan was sitting there. Police said we could take him back with us but he would have to come back whenever called for inquiry. We took Murugan to his house on Tuesday,” a relative said.
A 14-year-old boy, who is also related to Murugan, said, “I was at my uncle’s house at Abatharanapuram when the police took him on Monday. They beat him with a lathi in front of our house. The police took him again on Wednesday morning. This time too they beat him.”
According to the case registered by the police, “Vadalur SI Akasamurthy handed over Murugan to Panruti SI N Sivaprakasam for further inquiry. After holding a detailed inquiry with Murugan, Panruti police let him go around 5 pm on the Wednesday evening. But, later he was found dead at Panruti bus stand around 10.30 pm in the night.
SP A Radhika and sub-collector Lalitha arrived at Panruti and held talks with the protestors. “SP Radhika said she could not take any action now as the magistrate’s inquiry is in progress.’’ Vadalur SI Akasamurthy was placed under suspension.