A judicial inquiry into the deaths of a father and son, P Jeyaraj and J Fennix, after they were allegedly tortured by Sathankulam police in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi district, has found that about a dozen people had reported being beaten up by the same police officers, at the same police station.
According to an Indian Express report, of these, one had died later and two had to be hospitalised after judicial officers had intervened.
The Thoothukudi District Judge, who submitted his report, described the finding as "disturbing information of custodial torture".
A source in the Madras High Court told the newspaper that the report found that about a fortnight ago, eight people, including a minor, were tortured "continuously for three days" by police officers. They were also helped by a volunteer group called the 'Friends of Police', according to the report.
The report states that the deceased, Mahendran, was taken into custody soon after his brother, Durai, was arrested. However, it is unclear from the report why Mahendran had been taken into custody.
"Durai’s own younger brother (Mahendran) was beaten to death by the same officers at Sathankulam station, the body was handed over to his mother without post-mortem. The family was threatened that Durai also will be killed in the same manner if they speak out," the source at the High Court told the newspaper.
The 16-year-old minor, according to the report, was kept illegally in the police station for two days and beaten up, according to the judicial report. The report further adds that the accused were "continuously beaten up on various parts of the body, particularly the buttocks, with lathis".
Moreover, according to the source, the Judicial Magistrate, P Saravanan, "saw the accused from a distance and remanded them". The men were threatened by the police not to tell anything to the magistrate when presented before him for remand.
Moreover, according to the judicial report, there are no CCTV cameras at the Kovilpatti sub-jail, where one of the dozen men was sent later even though he had deep wounds in his private parts. Prisoners lodged at the jail told the team that went there for the report about being subjected to torture at various police stations in Thoothukudi district.
P Jayaraj and his son Fennix, arrested for 'violating' lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with their relatives alleging they were severely tortured at Sathankulam police station by police personnel earlier.
The incident had triggered a national furore, leading to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two sub-inspectors.