Tamil Nadu

Tribal man dies within a day of judicial custody in Tiruvannamalai



A 47-year-old tribal man, arrested on the charge of selling arrack, died within a day of being in judicial custody in Tiruvannamalai, triggering allegations of police torture.

His family has petitioned the Collector after K. Thangamani died on April 27. It has alleged that he was beaten up by the police.

But the police said Thangamani, a resident of the Thattaranai hamlet under the Perunkolathur village panchayat in the Thandarampattu block along the Jawadhu Hills, was picked up from his house around 9.30 a.m. on April 26 by the Prohibition Enforcement Wing (PEW). He was brought to the police station in the town around noon and questioned.

The police said Thangamani was facing 22 cases, mainly related to prohibition, and was convicted in four. “We have followed the standard operating procedure. The post-mortem has also been completed,” A. Pavan Kumar Reddy, SP (Tiruvannamalai), told The Hindu.

The police said that after the routine medical test at the Tiruvannamalai Government Medical College Hospital, a fitness certificate was obtained and Thangamani was remanded in judicial custody. He was lodged at the sub-jail around 6.30 p.m. the same day. On April 27, he developed seizure around 9 a.m. and was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital. He was admitted as out-patient and discharged. Around 4.30 p.m., he again suffered seizure in his cell at the sub jail. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated by a team of doctors. But he died at 8.45 p.m. The police informed his family of his death.

On Thursday, however, the family members and relatives, led by Thangamani’s wife T. Malar and son, demanded an inquiry into the his death, alleging torture before he was sent to the sub-jail. After they staged a protest for over an hour at the Collectorate, Ms. Malar and a few family members were allowed to meet Collector B. Murugesh and hand in a petition. The Collector assured them of an inquiry.

In her petition, Ms. Malar said they belong to the Kuravar community. Men in the village travel to other districts and big towns in search of job. They were not into any unlawful activities. She said the police demanded ₹2 lakh from her husband in order that they might not file a case against him for sale of arrack. As they refused to pay up, Thangamani was taken into custody.

The family refused to accept the body, demanding a probe.

The postmortem was conducted between 4.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the hospital on Thursday in the presence of Judicial Magsitrate-II Bhagyaraj. The report said the death occurred owing to “alcohol withdrawal symptoms”. It said the deceased suffered from liver damage and kidney failure. The body bore no injuries.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 12:38:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tribal-man-dies-within-a-day-in-judicial-custody-in-tiruvannamalai-family-alleges-torture/article65366325.ece