He was preparing to leave for Malaysia to take up a job there

Tension prevailed in Thiruthuraipoondi following the death of 34-year-old man, who was arrested by the police in connection with the theft of a tractor early on Tuesday. While his relatives alleged that he was beaten up by the police, senior police officials maintained that the victim suffered seizures and died.

M. Sundar of Naangali village was arrested on a complaint by a homoeopathy doctor of Keerakalur village near Thiruthuraipoondi that his tractor was stolen on September 2. Sundar was said to have worked as a casual driver for the complainant previously.

He was arrested at 1 a.m. on Tuesday and taken to Thiruthuraipoondi Police Station and later to the Tiruvarur Medical College. It was not clear whether Sundar died at the hospital or was brought dead. His body was sent to the mortuary. The police pickets were posted around the hospital.

The police claimed that the youth was arrested while they were on patrol. However, his relatives said that he was picked up from his house. P. Baskar, former municipal councillor and a native of Naangali, said that the Sundar was arrested by the police from his house at 1 a.m. and relatives were informed of his death at 4 a.m.

V. Kalyanasundaram, a relative of the victim, suspected that Sundar might have died due to police beating. He hailed from a poor family and had three sisters. His father was 75 years old. He was set to leave for Malaysia in 10 days to take up a job there as a driver. He had already got the visa and had undergone medical tests,” he said.

“Sundar was found to be in good health in the medical tests which he had undergone recently,” said Mr. Baskar, not giving much credence to the police claim that he had suffered seizures. As the news about the death spread, people of Naangali and other villages and Sundar’s relatives resorted to road blockade at Vilakudi village near Thiruthuraipoondi demanding action against the police. Traffic was affected for most part of the day on Mannarugdi-Thiruthuraipoondi road.

Senior Revenue and police officials rushed to the spot and held talks with agitators and assured them a magisterial inquiry would be conducted into the incident and the post mortem would be conducted by two doctors and videographed.

Kaliraj Maheshkumar, Superintendent of Police, Tiruvarur, who also visited the spot, said action would be taken against police officials if found guilty.

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