Critics compared custodial killings of Jayaraj P and J Benicks by Tamil Nadu police to that of George Floyd in the US that sparked worldwide outrage and protests against racism and police brutality.
- Last Updated: June 26, 2020, 11:37 PM IST
The custodial deaths of two traders, Jayaraj P and his son J Benicks, have led to outrage Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin. A day after reports of the violent torture and death of two shopkeepers at the hands of Tamil Nadu Police, residents of the state as well as others on social media have been seeking action against the cops responsible for the deaths.
On Monday, police officers picked up P Jayaraj, who ran a mobile phone repair shop with his son Benicks as the store was open beyond coronavirus lockdown curfew. When his son, who is also being named as Benix or Fenix by several media reports, reached the police
Those in the know said police had assaulted both of them at the police station. Eyewitnesses also claim that the cops inserted metal objects into one of the victims’ rectum.
The victims died in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday at the hospital after spending a brief period at the jail post being remanded to judicial custody.
After the Indian National Congress’ twitter handle made public the caste names of the victims, the issue is also being seen from the perspective of a caste-based atrocity.
READ: ‘…We Pleaded With Them to Stop’: Father, Son Die After Alleged Torture by TN Police in Custody
Many took to social media to speak up against the custodial killing and demanded strict action against the perpetrators of the brutality under the hashtag #JusticeFoeJayrajAnFenix. Some even called for those responsible to be hanged. Many shared images and artworks depicting the father-son duo and called out the misuse of power by the police.
TV anchor Sumantj Raman asked, “Why haven’t the erring policemen been arrested yet?” Several others expressed their outrage against the police and government’s inaction against the perpetrators.
Social activist and founder of the people’s movement ‘Arappor Iyakkam’ Jayaram Venkatesan asked, “People say there are good cops and bad cops. What is the use of good cops if they don’t stand by the victims and ensure justice for victims. Why are good cops not seeking the arrest of the killer police?”
Why haven’t the erring policemen been arrested as yet? Tamil Nadu Police is one of the finest in the country but the rotten apples in its midst need to be removed. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) June 26, 2020
Ppl say there r good cops and bad cops. What is the use of good cops if they dont stand by the victims nd ensure justice for victims. Y are good cops not seeking arrest of the killer police? What r they fearing for? Whats d use if they dont speak now? #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Jayaram Venkatesan (@JayaramArappor) June 26, 2020
India is probably the one country where police brutality during lockdown were shared as funny forwards on WhatsApp. Police in this country get away with bare terrorism with next to no consequences. They’re quite literally untouchable #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Ash (@Pewiwannadiepie) June 26, 2020
YOU CAN’T RAPE AND KILL SOMEONE FOR KEEPING THEIR SHOP OPEN A LITTLE PAST CURFEW. NO BODY DESERVES THIS KIND OF GRUESOME DEATH. STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND SPREAD AWARENESS, SIGN PETITIONS, AND REMEMBER THAT ALL COPS ARE BAD.#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix#ACAB
petition in thread.
— AJ ️ // Geminist (@crackanksha) June 26, 2020
ACAB. This was cruelty and the acts of the TN government machinery reeks of indignity towards the victim and their families. The police, magistrate and the doctor who gave the fitness certificate must be all bought to justice.#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— shash (@smdsanghi) June 26, 2020
Police brutality is not just isolated incidents perpetrated by few bad apples, but a systemic rot fuelled by unchecked power and a glaring lack of accountability. So please file your ‘Not all cops’ along with ‘Not all men’ and say All Cops Are Bastards #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Tablighi Jagannath (@bigdeekenergyy) June 26, 2020
What happened today to Jayaraj and Fenix can happen to any of us. What we need is not just justice for them. We need social and police reforms. So that a citizen in our country respects police not afraid of them. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— Madan Gowri (@madan3) June 26, 2020
Many even compared the killings to that of George Floyd in the US in May that sparked worldwide outrage and protests against racism and police brutality. Twitter users came forth to call out to Indians on the platform to tweet and raise awareness about the incident, much like they did for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
the term ‘police brutality’ doesn’t even begin to encompass the torture inflicted on those two helpless men.
please contribute the same energy you’ve directed towards BLM.
ACAB, regardless of race or country.#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— maud gone (@fitzzherald) June 26, 2020
if Bollywood doesn’t speak up about this custodial death, then just know that the support they showed for George Floyd was performative at best and they don’t give a shit about humanity. call them out for selectively using their platform.#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix#ACAB
— AJ ️ // Geminist (@crackanksha) June 26, 2020
Meanwhile, Madras High Court which took suo moto cognizance of the incident was informed that a high-level committee would soon form comprehensive guidelines to be followed by cops while implementing lockdown rules, Times of India reported.
In response the court reportedly said that the Tamilnadu Police should come up with solutions like Yoga and counseling sessions to alleviate the stress of police officers in time of COVID-19.