Jeyaraj and Fenix: Outrage mounts over India police custodial deaths

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Outrage is mounting over the custodial deaths of a father and son within the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

P Jeyaraj, 58, and his son Fenix, 38, had been arrested for allegedly holding their shops open previous permitted hours – Tamil Nadu continues to be observing a lockdown to curb the unfold of Covid.

Both males had been stored in police custody a whole night time and died inside hours of one another two days later.

Relatives of the 2 males say the lads had been subjected to brutal torture.

What has occurred since their deaths?

As particulars of the alleged torture emerged, individuals started demanding motion.

State opposition lawmakers have taken to the streets in protest, a merchants physique has condemned the actions of police, and an area court docket has taken up the difficulty for listening to.

The policemen who arrested the 2 males have been transferred, and the state authorities has awarded compensation of 1 million rupees (£10,716; $13,222) to their households.

The incident has additionally discovered its approach to social media, which has in flip introduced it into the nationwide highlight.

What has the response been like?

Initially, many questioned why there’s little to no outrage over the deaths of the 2 males, when so many Indians on social media have been vocal concerning the destiny of George Floyd within the US, whose loss of life by the hands of a white officer has triggered an enormous motion towards police brutality.

Many Indian social media customers have been supporting the protests towards white police brutality towards black Americans. However, this incident has been slower to select up, partly as a result of it happened in a smaller metropolis – Thoothukudi, and it took a while to come back to the eye of nationwide media.

But in current days, the difficulty has begun gaining traction as livid dialogue started on varied social media platforms. In a video which has had greater than one million views, one consumer mentioned she was “sick of people not discussing what happens in south India because it is not in English” and then proceeded to offer a graphic account of the alleged torture of the 2 males.

There can be large outrage that the policemen believed to be accountable for the lads’s deaths will not be being charged with homicide and have been merely transferred.

Now high-profile customers equivalent to opposition chief Rahul Gandhi and nationwide cricketer Shikhar Dhawan have additionally tweeted, demanding justice for the 2 males and extra accountability.

The challenge of police brutality in India

Ayeshea Perera, BBC India on-line editor

The numbers are startling. A report by a consortium of NGOs towards custodial torture have launched a report by which they are saying 1,731 individuals died in custody in India throughout 2019. This works out to round 5 custodial deaths a day.

The report additionally describes a number of strategies of torture.

The truth stays that torture and beating up suspects to extract confessions have grow to be very a lot a part of policing in India. Policemen who interact in it are not often punished – most instances they’re merely transferred to a different district or state.

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The uncommon instances that they’re held accountable, judiciary have made stinging remarks concerning the want for reform.

In one verdict final yr, a decide famous that “they are confident that they will not be held accountable even if the victim dies in custody and even if the truth is revealed.”

In 2006, the Indian Supreme Court dominated that every state ought to arrange a police complaints authority the place any citizen can lodge a criticism towards police officers for any misdemeanour. However, this has not been achieved in most states.

Activists say far more far-reaching intervention is required to alter the system.

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