Social Justice

#JusticeforJayarajAndFenix: A father-son duo succumbed to police brutality in Tamil Nadu mere for flouting lockdown rules

This country has seen many shades of police brutality, but the horrific case of such with a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin to a degree unimaginable caused a wild furore in the country.

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On June 19, P Jayaraj (59) and his son Bennicks(who is being mistakenly referred to as Fenix) (31) were picked up for questioning by the cops in Sathankulam police for violating lockdown rules. The police said that the duo kept their mobile shop open beyond the permitted time during the lockdown. 

They were allegedly beaten to death by the police. Fenix died at the Kovilpatti General Hospital on June 22, while his father breathed his last on June 23.

As per India Today, the eyewitnesses have also claimed that the cops inserted metal objects in one of the victim’s rectum and further both were brutally thrashed.

Jayaraj’s daughter and Benniks’ sister Percy told media persons on June 24 that the policemen had pushed her father by his neck to the floor and beaten him badly.  “When my brother questioned the police why they were beating our father, the police hit him also. My father got tensed seeing this. The police then thrashed them both for almost two hours, locking the door. My brother’s friends who were lawyers went and stood in front of the station but the police didn’t let them in. They have assaulted my brother and father so much,” she said.

Jayaraj’s wife Selvarani has lodged a complaint, alleging that police brutality led to the death of her husband and son. In her complaint letter to the district criminal court and Assistant Commissioner, she said the police brutally attacked her husband and son, used curse words, and threatened to kill them. She urged them to book the police officers responsible under section 302 of the IPC and suspend them from duty. 

After the outrage, the Madras High Court took cognizance of the case on its own on Wednesday and ordered a video recording of the post-mortem after the relatives of the two men moved the court.

While the police has not admitted to any undue use of force on Jayaraj and Bennix, the Thoothukudi police suspended two sub-inspectors in the Sathankulam station, Balakrishnan and P Raghuganesh. Inspector Sridhar was transferred to a ‘waiting list’ on June 24. Appearing before the Madras High Court, Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan stated that disciplinary action has been initiated against constables S Murugan and Muthuraj.

Meanwhile, all shops in the district were closed and over 1,000 people of Sathankulam town staged a protest, demanding justice.

The Chief Minister has announced Rs 10 lakh each to the family of the deceased and a government job to one person from the family, based on their qualification.

Also, DMK President MK Stalin on Friday announced Rs 25 Lakh and said the party condole the death of P Jayaraj and his son, Benicks.

After the news broke, people across Tamil Nadu condemned the police brutality and demanded justice for the family. Many celebrities including Khushbu, Jayam Ravi and director Karthik Subbaraj took to Twitter to demand justice.

The likes of Riteish Deshmukh, Nimrat Kaur, Taapsee Pannu, Genelia Deshmukh, Neha Dhupia and more tweeted about it demanding proper probe and justice in the case. The incident has started a massive social media wave where people are coming out and asking people to not sit in silence and demand for justice in this case. Check out the tweets of all the celebs below.



Jayaraj is survived by his wife and three daughters.

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