A 26-year-old youth, R.Venkatesh from Tahsildar Nagar in Madurai, who was taken for interrogation by the Emaneswaram police in Paramakudi, died in custody due to alleged police torture on Wednesday.

A police team led by Emaneswaram police station Sub-Inspector had picked up Venkatesh who had come to Paramakudi to attend a hearing in a 2010-jewellery theft case at the Paramakudi Judicial Magistrate Criminal Court. Venkatesh was living in Tahsildar Nagar with his wife Divya alias Muhammed Nisha, whom he married two years ago, and his nine-month-old baby. His family members have alleged that Venkatesh was picked up for interrogation on the recent jewel thefts in Paramakudi and was tortured in custody.

They said that Venkatesh had become unconscious and when the police admitted him in the Paramakudi Government Hospital, he was declared dead. A magisterial enquiry has been sought by his brother Senthil through People’s Watch, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Madurai. The magistrate had then conducted an enquiry where she inquired about the injuries on the deceased with doctors who had attended on him.

The police team, led by Sub-Inspector Muniasamy, that had been enquiring theft cases had picked up Venkatesan and interrogated him, says a fact-finding report of Evidence, another NGO from Madurai which did an on-field study. The police had also registered an attempt-to murder case on Venkatesan on the day of interrogation.

The demands of the NGOs include, booking the police team under IPC Section 302 and to suspend them. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should take suo moto action and a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh should be given to the family members of the deceased. The NGOs said that during the last 16 months, there had been 28 custodial deaths in the State; six persons had been killed in fake encounters; and seven killed in police firing. Not even a single policeman had been prosecuted and the NHRC had not ordered for any inquiry.

Meanwhile, family members and relatives of the deceased refused to take the body from Government Hospital in Paramakudi on Thursday and staged a road roko on Madurai-Rameswaram highway demanding action against the police and to provide adequate compensation.

Policemen suspended

A Sub-Inspector and three constables had been placed under suspension, said Deputy Inspector General of Police (Ramanathapuram Range) M. Ramasubramani.

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