They allege that he was beaten to death by police

Tension prevailed at the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital on Friday when irate relatives of a deceased trader refused to accept his body, alleging that he was beaten to death by police at the Srivaikuntam police station in Tuticorin district.

According to the protestors, Kombaiah (47) of Manakkarai near Srivaikuntam, a goat skin trader, was homeward bound after purchasing hides on May 8. He stopped at an eatery at Srivaikuntam, leaving the hides and his knife behind on his cycle. When he emerged from the eatery, the items were missing.

“When he went to Srivaikuntam police station to file a complaint, he was mocked by a few policemen there. As he protested, Kombaiah was attacked by the police personnel, including the Inspector of the station.

They pushed him and his head hit an electric post on the street. Kombaiah sustained head injuries and fell unconscious.

He was admitted to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital with head injuries and died on Thursday,” said the victim’s wife Pitchammal.

Ms. Pitchammal and her sons Manimanthiram and Antonyraj submitted a petition to Deputy Inspector General of Police (Tirunelveli Range) Sumit Sharan on Thursday.

On Friday, the agitated relatives refused to accept the body after post-mortem. Tension escalated as a few community leaders joined in.

“Besides taking action against the policemen responsible for Kombaiah’s death, the State government should give employment to one of his family members and give adequate compensation,” Madasamy, a community leader, said.

The police calmed the protesters who finally took possession of the body before dispersing.