Updated: December 6, 2021 5:34:32 pm
A 21-year-old college student who was detained by cops during a vehicle check in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district on Saturday and released hours later was found dead at home on Sunday. The deceased youth’s family refused to receive his body claiming that he had been subjected to custodial torture. They also sought action against the police officers.
The deceased, identified as L Manikandan, was a resident of Neerkozhiyenthal village near Mudkulathur. On Saturday, cops attached to Keezhathooval police station were carrying out vehicle checking on the Paramakudi-Keezhathooval road when Manikandan passed by on a motorcycle with his friend. He allegedly refused to stop the vehicle when the officers asked him to do so, following which the cops chased his vehicle and detained him at Keezhathooval police station for questioning.
Later, the police informed Manikandan’s mother that he had been detained and asked her to pick him up from the station. Manikandan allegedly told his family that he had been beaten up by the cops. On Sunday morning, he was found lying motionless at his house. The family rushed him to Mudukulathur General Hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Alleging that the youth died due to custodial torture, the family blockaded the road and demanded action against the Keezhathooval Inspector and other officials. The police were able to disperse the crowd only after several hours.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Ramanathapuram SP E Karthik denied that the youth was tortured and said the police had evidence, including CCTV footage, to prove that no custodial torture had taken place.
“He didn’t cooperate during the vehicle check. The officers chased the vehicle and caught him. The guy who was sitting behind Manikandan escaped. In the initial enquiry, the police didn’t find him guilty of any wrongdoing. However, the vehicle’s number plate read TN 05, but here the vehicles usually bear the number 65. So the police took him to the station for further enquiry and informed his mother. The enquiry was done while she was sitting outside. The cops asked her to take care of him as his activities were suspicious. His mother, village head and one other person came to the station and picked him up,” SP Karthik said.
According to the police, the whole enquiry process took about two and a half hours and Manikandan’s mother was present at the station for over two hours.
The SP said when Manikandan was found dead, he had been foaming at the mouth which may have happened as a result of consuming poison or due to previous illness. Only the autopsy report will reveal the details, he added.
“There is not even an injury mark on his body. He was not ill-treated by the cops. He is a student, so there was no arrest or any such thing. He was let off with a warning in the presence of his family. We have CCTV footage, audio recordings of the enquiry proceedings; everything was followed as per law. The autopsy has been completed, but the family is refusing to collect the body. After receiving the autopsy report, we will share the details,” he added.
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