There had been 29 deaths in police custody since the assumption of office by AIADMK in May 2011, according to a fact-finding team of the People’s Watch, an NGO, here.

The latest one being in Madurai City Police, where a suspect in a robbery case had allegedly hanged himself to death in the bathroom of the Vilakuthoon police station. The 45-year-old man was detained by the police in connection with a robbery of Rs. 15 lakh from a business man here.

On Saturday, the family members demanded stern action against police officers and refused to take the body from the Government Rajaji Hospital. After persuasion by senior officers, they dispersed.

Madurai tops

Though human rights organisations and social activists had been demanding the police to strictly follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines while conducting investigation of suspects, the lackadaisical attitude of the officers reflected in the deaths, the People’s Watch Director M.J. Prabakar said. “The State government should not remain passive and take action against erring officials,” he observed.

Among the 29 deaths, Madurai topped with five deaths, followed by Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirupur three each, Tuticorin, Ariyalur and Erode two each and Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Kancheepuram, Thanjavur, Virudhunagar, Villupuram, Dindigul, Kanyakumari and Ramanathapuram one each, the figures indicated. The team said that two women were among the dead.

According to Ramesh, an advocate practising in Madurai High Court Bench, under the guise of investigation, police tortured and humiliated, which resulted in the victims ending their lives. Such deaths should be treated as murder and the government should not withdraw the suspension, until the disposal of the case.

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