A special sub-inspector (SSI) in Salem district was arrested and booked for murder on Wednesday after a 47-year-old farmer, whom he indiscriminately beat with a lathi on Tuesday evening, died.
The victim, A. Murugesan of Edayappati, was assaulted by SSI Periyasamy at the Pappinaickenpatti checkpost in the Yethapur police station limits in Salem district. Preliminary inquiries revealed that the assault was triggered by an argument Murugesan had in an inebriated state with the uniformed personnel.
Murugesan’s nephew said he had captured the incident on his phone to bring out the police brutality and truth. Photo: Special Arrangement
Video clips of the SSI thrashing the victim, ignoring pleas for mercy, were shared widely on social media and served as a chilling reminder of the deaths of Jayaraj, a trader, and his son J. Bennicks after they were beaten up at the Sattankulam police station in Thoothukudi exactly a year ago.
In the video, Murugesan’s relatives were heard pleading with the police to let him go. The policeman stopped wielding the lathi only after Murugesan fell unconscious. The video was shot by a relative of the deceased. Three constables — Murugan, Divakar and Balaji — of the Tamil Nadu Special Battalion were on duty and were witness to the incident.
Police sources said Murugesan, along with his relatives T. Sivan Babu, 33, and R. Shankar, 23, was crossing the check-post on a two-wheeler when they were intercepted by the SSI. Since they were in an inebriated state, their vehicle was impounded. This triggered an exchange of words between Murugesan and the SSI, leading to the assault.
After Murugesan fell unconscious, his relatives took him to the Primary Health Centre at Thumbal and later admitted him to the Government Hospital at Attur. But the doctors there referred him to the Salem Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College and Hospital, where he died on Wednesday morning. The victim is survived by his wife Annakili, 37, daughters Jeyapriya, 18, a first year B.Com student, and Jeyabrindha, 12, a Plus two student and son Kavipriyan, 13, a Class 8 student.
As the news of the incident spread, the victim’s relatives gathered outside the Yethapur police station, demanding action against the SSI. Police personnel were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Based on a complaint from the victim’s brother, A. Duraisamy, a case under Section 176 of the Cr.PC (inquiry by magistrate into cause of death) was registered by the Yethapur police. Later, the Section was altered to 302 (murder) and the SSI was arrested.
C. Maheswari, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Salem Range, and M. Sree Abhinav, Superintendent of Police, held inquiries at the station. Murugesan’s relatives and PMK functionaries submitted a petition to the SP, demanding a government job for a member of the deceased’s family, besides adequate compensation. They said they would agree to a post-mortem only if their demands were met.
Later, PMK president G.K. Mani assured the victim’s relatives that he would take up the issue with the Chief Minister. Following his assurance, they agreed to a post-mortem.
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