THOOTHUKUDI: Tension gripped across the district on Tuesday after a 63-year-old father and his 31-year-old son belonging to Sathankulam were allegedly killed in police custody. Kin of the deceased and the traders have suspected police torture for the death of the duo and protested seeking severe punishment against 13 police personnel. Condemning the killing of two traders in police custody, traders bodies shut down shops at Sathankulam, Udangudi, Peikulam here on Tuesday.
Sources said that J Fenix (31) was declared dead at Kovilpatti government hospital by 8 pm on Monday while his father P Jeyaraj (63) died in the same hospital in the wee hours on Tuesday. The bodies of the deceased have been shifted to Government medical college hospital in Tirunelveli.
A trader from Sathankulam said that police detained P Jeyaraj, a timber trader from Sathankulam on June 19, for opening shop beyond 9 pm and was escorted to the police station for an inquiry. His son Fenix, who runs a mobile shop, went to the station to ask police to release him. However, police had remanded both the father and son under sections 188, 269, 294(b), 353 and 506(2) of IPC.
It is said that the duo were shifted to Kovilpatti sub-jail as per the current protocol governing isolation for the suspects before being shifted to Palayamkottai central prison.
Another source said that Sathankulam police attacked Fenix badly for protesting against beating his father in the station, and there had been an altercation. Police had beaten both father and son black and blue at Kovilpatti sub-jail as well, sources added.
On Monday evening, Fenix was bleeding and shifted to Kovilpatti GH where he succumbed. Subsequently, Jeyaraj was shifted to GH after suffering respiratory trouble off late, however, he also succumbed without responding to treatment.
The death of two traders had sparked tension as shops were shut at various parts of the district condemning the police brutality.
The Kovilpatti unit of CPM party resorted to protest in front of the Kovilpatti GH demanding severe punishment for the culprits. Meanwhile, Sathankulam traders shuttered the shops and squatted in front of Sathankulam Kamarajar statue demanding to invoke murder charges against 13 police personnel of the Sathankulam station who attacked the father and son duo.
Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan visited the Sathankulam and held talks with the protesters.
Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi had urged the district collector Sandeep Nanduri to initiate severe action against the police personnel involved in the alleged attack and recommend suitable compensation for the family members of the deceased.
Tamil Nadu Traders Association president Vellaiyan had asked to shut down shops across the district, said district president Vinayagamurthi.