It has been four days since Kumaresan died. His father Navaneetha Krishnan was shattered. “Like how the court and the state police have taken over the Sathankulam case, I need justice for my son’s death too,” he told TNM amid religious rituals in his house to commemorate the death of his son.
The 25-year-old auto driver from Veera Keralam Pudur (or VK Pudur) in Tenkasi district died on 27 June at the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital after being hospitalised for around 15 days. On 10 May, Kumaresan was allegedly beaten up at the VK Pudur police station by Chandrasekaran, the sub-inspector and Kumar, the head constable. A month after the alleged custodial assault, Kumaresan started vomiting blood.
“I raised my son for 25 years and now I am standing after losing him. I also need justice for my son,” Navaneetha Krishnan broke down over the phone. He had filed a complaint against the two policemen in the wee hours of 28 June and an FIR was registered for unnatural death, naming the two policemen.
Chandrasekaran and Kumar had allegedly threatened Kumaresan on 10 May to not speak of the assault to anybody outside, failing which he would be booked under the Goondas Act.
A month later, in June, Kumaresan started vomiting blood and was rushed to a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in VK Pudur and then to a private hospital in Surandai. When his condition did not improve, he was referred to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital on 12 June where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It was there he confessed about being attacked by the policemen in May to his family and the doctors.
Though it has been four days since the FIR was registered at the VK Pudur station, Navaneetha Krishnan claimed that there has been no update on the case. “The police have not informed us of any action taken on the two policemen against whom the FIR has been registered -- Chandrasekaran and Kumar,” he said. He added that local policemen are also spreading rumours in the town saying that he received Rs 10 lakh as compensation and settled the case.
“My neighbours are looking at me in disgust. I have not done any such thing. I need justice and am planning to pursue it till it reaches its logical conclusion.”Navaneetha Krishnan
When TNM asked the Tenkasi Superintendent of Police Suguna Singh about the FIR, he said that the two policemen accused of assaulting Kumaresan have been transferred on June 28. The autopsy on Kumaresan’s body was conducted by a team of doctors and was fully videographed.
“They have been transferred out and put on the waiting list. They have not been posted anywhere else. The probe in the case is in progress,” he said. Adding that the investigation is being conducted by the Tirunelveli district police, Suguna Singh said, “To ensure that there is no local police influence in the case, I asked the case to be investigated by a DSP-level officer from the Tirunelveli district police so that no policeman in Tenkasi district will be involved in the case.”
(The article was originally published in The News Minute and has been reposted with permission.)