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There Isn't Anything 'Shocking' About Official Apathy in the Jayaraj-Bennicks Case

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I read somewhere that the barbaric double murder of Jayaraj and his son Bennicks at the Sathankulam police station has sent shock waves across the country. I feel otherwise. True, its savagery caused a momentary revulsion. The nation wanted to know what had happened. But that was all. For a few days, the hue and cry flashed across media. But it was a nine-day wonder. Soon more important business like a catfight with political benefits between Bollywood frenemies absorbed viewership. I am not shocked.

On June 19, the father and son were taken into custody for keeping their shop open 15 minutes past curfew. Four days later they were dead. Thirty separate deep lacerations and contusions were found on their bodies. Between being called to the station and ending up at the morgue, father and son spent 12 hours in the police station, were pronounced fit by doctors at Sathankulam hospital, then presented before a magistrate and finally dropped at the jail – in a vehicle paid for by the family. Here they lay dying for two days until in their last hours they were shifted to Kovilpatti government hospital where they died.

Still, not one of the 27 police personnel, inspector and ‘friends of the police’ in that station saw or heard anything that night. The people outside pleading for their family did. But not the DSP Prathaban, who just before midnight told the anxious crowd that both were in a good condition. Next morning, the doctors at the hospital saw nothing of 30 injuries. The magistrate too somehow missed this. And for two days, the jailors saw nothing. No one saw the agony. No one saw the law. No one saw their duty. Still, why should I be shocked: data shows that there are five deaths in police and judicial custody every day, so it would be safe to say that the system is comfortable with this routine.

Also read: Justice........

© The Wire

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