An auto rickshaw driver from Tenkasi district in Tamil Nadu died on Saturday night, over a month after he was allegedly assaulted by the police in a land dispute case, Deccan Herald reported on Sunday. N Kumaresan, 25, from VK Pudur town in Tenkasi district, had been undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Tirunelveli since June 13.

A first information report was registered against two policemen, who Kumaresan’s father Navaneethakrishnan identified as Sub-Inspector Chandrasekar and Constable Kumar, only after the man died. Navaneethakrishnan alleged that the police personnel punched his son on his back and attacked his genitals.

“Myself and Kumaresan were called to the Veerakeralampudur police station on May 8 for an inquiry in a land issue,” Navaneethakrishnan told The New Indian Express. “During the inquiry, Chandrasekar beat my son on his cheek repeatedly in front of me while speaking in a filthy language. After Kumaresan asked Chandrasekar why he was beating him up when he had done nothing wrong, the SI warned my son of consequences, and let him go.”

Navaneethakrishnan said that Chandrasekar picked up Kumaresan from the auto stand on May 10. He alleged that Chandrasekar took away his son’s mobile phone, following which Kumaresan went to the police station to get it back. “But Kumaresan was severely beaten up by Chandrasekar and Kumar at the police station and sent home threatening that he would be booked under the Goondas Act if he would reveal the police beatings to anyone,” Navaneethakrishnan alleged.

The father said that while Kumaresan did not tell him about the incident, his health began to gradually worsen, and he started vomiting blood. Navaneethakrishnan took Kumaresan to a local hospital on June 10, from where he was shifted to the government hospital in Tirvuneleli on June 13.

Kumaresan told the doctor about the incident only after being prompted. “He told the doctor that the sub-inspector made him sit on the floor and stamped him on his chest and his genitals at the same time,” Navaneethakrishnan said. “Kumaresan was then asked to sit straight after which the constable punched his back heavily.”

On June 17, Kumaresan was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit, where he died on June 27. “We want justice for my son’s death,” Navaneethakrishnan said. “Policemen think they have the right to attack and assault anyone. This incident is similar to the one that took place in Sathankulam. There is no difference. My son died only due to injuries inflicted upon him by the policemen.”

Meanwhile, the police in Tenkasi booked around 200 people for blocking the Surandai-Alangulam Road on Saturday night in protest against Kumaresan’s death.

The Sathankulam incident

A father and son duo died in a hospital in Thoothukudi district earlier this week, allegedly after being beaten up in police custody on June 19, for violating lockdown orders by opening their shop in Sathankulam.

A case was filed against Jayaraj and his son Bennix on June 19 for not following the curfew under lockdown. They were later sent to the Kovilpatti sub-jail.

On June 22, Bennix complained of breathing problems and was admitted to a local government-run hospital. He died around 9 pm. Jayaraj, who was also hospitalised due to an illness, died the next day. The family of the duo accused the police of assaulting them in custody. Subsequently, the Madras High Court sought a report from the police. The incident led to protests in the state.

Earlier on Sunday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that the state government will transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, after the High Court’s approval.