The Madras High Court should initiate suo motu action against the police personnel involved in the killing of Prabhu and Bharathi, suspected murderers of sub-inspector Alwin Sudhan, said an independent fact-finding team after conducting a one-day inquiry into the death of the youth.
The five-member team comprising A. Marx, president, People’s Union for Human Rights (PUHR), G. Sugumaran, president of Federation for People’s Rights (FPR) and S. Kochadai, People’s Education Organisation, along with advocates A. Rajini and A.S. Abdul Khader, addressed the press persons on Wednesday in which they claimed that the police violated all prominent guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission in the encounter. According to the team, a CBI investigation should be initiated and the police personnel involved in the killing should be prosecuted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
“Tamil Nadu is the only State in India where suspects in judicial custody are killed in ‘encounters.’ Prabhu and Bharathi had told their families who visited them in prison that they would be killed in a fake encounter. The deceased Prabhu’s wife, Roja, even sought protection for her husband through representations to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the NHRC, but they were not considered,” said Mr. Marx. He pointed out that NHRC guidelines mandate that officials should look into the complaints and allegations of the kin of a person detained, whether minor or major.
The fact finding team alleged that the police visited Pudhukulum village on many occasions, ransacked several homes and looted properties. “The cops who escorted the suspects when they escaped have not been suspended till date and nobody has claimed ownership for the motorbike the suspects reportedly used to escape. This only fuels the suspicion that the police had faked the encounter,” Mr. Marx added. The team also visited Pudhukulum in Sivaganga, the place near Theethanpettai, where police claimed that the suspects were shot dead and spoke to residents near Walker’s Club in K.K. Nagar, Madurai, from where the duo reportedly escaped.
The members also claimed that the police faked the age of a few juveniles to accommodate them in prisons, rather than in juvenile homes. “Sakthivelu and Mathiarasan, who are at present detained in prison, are in no way involved in the murder of Alwin Sudhan. They had come from Virudhachalam for sugarcane harvesting. A few others were detained illegally before being produced before the judicial magistrate,” said Mr. Kochadai. “We strongly condemn the murder of sub-inspector Alwin Sudhan. At the same time, we insist that the innocent should not be prosecuted for an offence they have not committed, ” Mr Marx claimed. The team is also planning to give representations to the NHRC, SHRC and move the court if suo motu action is not initiated.