Thoothukudi: 2 traders die in custody, shops to shut on Wednesday

On Tuesday angry traders in Sathankulam, Udangudi and Peikulam in Thoothukudi shut shop alleging police brutality.

Published: 24th June 2020 06:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2020 06:20 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: Even as parts of the State have been placed under a strict lockdown, the Tamil Nadu Traders Association has announced that shops across the State will be shut on Wednesday to protest the death of two Thoothukudi shopkeepers allegedly in police custody. T Vellaiyan, president of the association, urged the public not to panic as shops would only down shutters for a single day.

On Tuesday angry traders in Sathankulam, Udangudi and Peikulam in Thoothukudi shut shop alleging police brutality.As tension prevailed, Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan and Collector Sandeep Nanduri held talks with the protesters. By the end of the day, four policemen, including two sub-inspectors, were suspended pending inquiry and 12 police staff, including an inspector, were transferred.

Meanwhile, the Madurai Bench of the Madras HC ordered that the postmortem be performed by a team of three doctors and the procedure be videographed. The court also initiated suo motu proceedings to inquire into the case. The deceased J Fenix (31) and his father P Jeyaraj (63) were traders in Sathankulam. The son was declared dead at Government Kovilpatti Hospital on Monday night while the father died at the same hospital early Tuesday morning.

Jeyaraj was taken to the Sathankulam station on June 19 allegedly for keeping his timber shop open past 9 pm. Fenix, who ran a mobile phone shop, went there to enquire after him. But, police booked and remanded both of them.

The father-son duo was allegedly shifted to Kovilpatti sub-jail for Covid screening before being taken to Kovilpatti East police station. It is alleged that police assaulted Fenix after he questioned them for beating his father. Police allegedly assaulted the duo at both the police stations and at the sub jail. On Monday evening, a bleeding Fenix was shifted to the hospital shortly before he died. Jeyaraj died a few hours later.

Jeyaraj’s wife Selvarani accused the police of concealing the fact that father and son were badly injured from the judicial magistrate. She alleged that police had denied them medical aid despite “beating them brutally”.  

The opposition parties have condemned the death of the father and son duo. DMK president MK Stalin, in a statement, asked Chief Minister Palaniswami, who holds the Home portfolio, to give a proper response on this. Congress president KS Alagiri also condemned the incident. Similarly, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and TMC(M) president GK Vasan have sought urgent action against the erring police officials.

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