Tamil Nadu

Sattankulam custodial deaths | Video of post-mortem confirms injuries on bodies of Jayaraj, Benicks

P. Jayaraj (left) and his son J. Benicks.

P. Jayaraj (left) and his son J. Benicks.   | Photo Credit: PTI

A video shared widely on social media on Friday showing deep injuries on the bodies of P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks, which was shot during their post-mortem examination, strengthens the charge that the duo was tortured in police custody in the Sattankulam station.

The video shows Judicial Magistrate-I of Kovilpatti M.S. Bharathidasan taking notes during the post-mortem. The clip was first hosted by Tamil magazine Nakkheeran on its website and YouTube channel.

Sattankulam custodial deaths | When protectors turn perpetrators

In the clip, forensic experts turn the body around to indicate and mark the injuries — including raw, red flesh on Benicks’ buttocks and crusted blood on the face of his father Jayaraj. The injuries pointed to heavy assault on both. The father and son were in police custody for over eight hours and the police, led by inspector Sridhar, allegedly carried out the assault.

Relatives break down

Even as the bodies were to be taken up for post-mortem examination, some family members were allowed inside the room to identify the victims. The video shows the relatives breaking down on seeing the gruesome injuries on the bodies.

Earlier, the doctors who examined Benicks at the Kovilpatti Government Hospital on June 22 had noted injuries in the gluteal region. It is confirmed in the clip.

Also read | Sattankulam accused face one more case of custodial torture

Human rights activist Henry Tiphagne of People’s Watch said, “In a land where the much celebrated Right to Information Act has been in vogue for 15 years, the post-mortem report, which was submitted in court in a sealed cover, could not be accessed by the family. The government, which has given compensation and a junior assistant job to the family, could not ensure access to the post-mortem report to the affected family. The family has got every right to go through the post-mortem report as it has the right to know the reason behind the death of two of its members.” He added that the video almost nailed the perpetrators.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 4:04:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/post-mortem-clip-confirms-injuries-on-bodies-of-jayaraj-benicks/article32243955.ece

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