Christian evangelists, NGOs and separatist outfits aim to use the tragic deaths to further their agenda of replicating BLM in India. SI Raghu Ganesh who is in the eye of the storm is said to have acted against missionaries and thwarted their conversion attempts.
Suspended SI Balakrishnan (top left) and Raghu Ganesh (bottom left) are accused in the case of custodial death of Jayaraj (bottom center) and Bennix (top center). Protests over their deaths are alleged to have been hijacked by anti-national forces
Custodial deaths are not new to Tamil Nadu but the recent case in Sattankulam were two local businessmen were alleged to have died in police custody seems to be highjacked by nefarious forces for their own agenda. The tragic deaths of Jayaraj Nadar (60) and his son Bennix Immanual vel Nadar (31) are being used by anti-national forces and political parties who are pushing for the sacking of police officials even without any probe.
Jayaraj Nadar was running a timber shop while his son Bennix Immanual vel Nadar was selling and servicing mobile phones. On 19th June, Jayaraj had kept his mobile shop open beyond permitted hours which was in violation of lock down rules. According to the police, Jayaraj was a repeat offender. On 19th, police had told him to close the shop on time. Local reports indicate that Jayaraj not only verbally abused the police but later attacked police personnel.
Subsequently, the police took Jayaraj to the station and his son Bennix arrived at the station and questioned the police action. He too abused the police and allegedly attacked them after which the police booked them (case no 312/2020) under section 188, 383, 506 (II) of IPC. After completing medical formalities, the police presented them before the local magistrate and later lodged the duo in Kovilpatti sub-jail under the custody of Inspector Sridhar and Sub-Inspector Balakrishnan and Raghu Ganesh.
On 21st June, Jayaraj and Bennix developed health issues and were rushed to the Kovilpatti government hospital. Thoothukudi District Police Superintendent Arun Balagopal informed media that Bennix had heart ailments and developmed breathing problems in prison and was rushed to the hospital where he died. He said Bennix’s father was also running high temperature at the time of arrest, and hence was admitted to the Isolation ward. Unfortunately, Bennix and Jayaraj passed away in quick succession.
Politics over tragic deaths
On hearing this, their relatives, political leaders and party affiliated traders associations accused the police for their death. They alleged that the death was due to police beating in custody. Sensing trouble brewing at the premises due to the protests, Sub-Inspectors of Police, Balakrishnan and Raghu Ganesh, were transferred to Armed Reserve Police (District Lines), while Inspector Sridhar put on wait list. Despite this, relatives of the victims refused to take the bodies after post-mortem and staged protests. However, on 25th evening the body was handed over to them.
The Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Associations (FTNTA) and the Tamil Nadu Traders Associations Forum ( TNTAF), the two major trade bodies have political affiliations (DMK and Left). Interestingly, both the unions are pro-Christian outfits supporting Dravidian politics.
Thoothukudi DMK Lok Sabha member Kanimozhi urged the CM to take strict action against those who were responsible for the deaths. She also demanded adequate compensation to their families. DMK chief MK Stalin said that TN Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy, who holds Home portfolio, should own responsibility for their death and people behind the same should be punished. DMK has announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakhs to victim’s family. TNCC president K S Alagiri sought a CBI probe in the matter.
Bennix and Jayaraj in hospital. Their bodies are said to have no external injuries as alleged.
No outrage over deaths of Jawans and Police personnel
While policical and anti-national forces are using the deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix for their own agenda, murder of SI Wilson by Islamic terrorists few months ago did not see similar outrage. The same forces who are protesting today demanding 1 crore for the family of Jayaraj and Bennix, made no such demands when police and defense personnel die during action against terrorist and country's enemies.
Vinod, functionary of Hindu Munnani, says that these forces protest only when they want to demand compensation for people from only a particular community but remain silent if the victim is a Hindu. “Since Jayaraj and Bennix belonged to a particular religion, they say Rs 20 lakhs announced by state government was not enough and it should be raised. Their motive is getting huge compensation from the government for people who belong to their religion. Congress, DMK, VCK, Naam Tamizhar, Left, Muslim outfits would support such demands for higher compensation for people of a particular religion but never do demand the same in case of jawans who are martyred or police personnel who lay down their lives in service of the nation. We condemn this narrow religious outlook of the protestors who are backed by DMK and Christian outfits. Mohan C Lazrus of Jesus Redeems, Evangelical Church of India‘s Ezra Sargunam (a DMK votary and a known Hindu hater) and Paul Dinakaran of Jesus Calls International have all indulged in large-scale conversions in TN. These outfits always first ascertain the religion of the victim and only then demand hefty compensation”, he says.
ER Arumuga Kani of VHP told this correspondent that these missionary have tried to show their might with this lock up death. “The police were forced to arrest the two as they physically attacked the police officials. CCTV recordings there would reveal the truth. We are not justifying the police actions but it is known that SI Raghu Ganesh took actions against missionaries and thwarted their conversion attempts. Raghu Ganesh had clipped the wings of all the rowdies who had allegiance with DMK. Despite pressure from DMK and Kanimozhi, he took action against such anti-social elements. They wanted him to be shifted to some other place and these tragic deahts is a god send opportunity for them. Recently traders belonging to Hindu community faced some problem with police but the same DMK failed to show their solidarity. When Kumbakonam Ramaligam was killed when he opposed conversions by Muslims and Palakkarai J Raghu, a dalit, was murdered by Islamists in Trichy, none of the media or these human rights champions, or political parties, or traders forum protested”.
Kani also informed that said Christian preacher Mohan Lazrus had lodged a complaint with the National Minority commission saying SI Raghu Ganesh attacked Karunkatal Panchayat president Nalla Thambi and others. SI Raghu had taken action against them for indulging in evangelical propaganda. It was the first case against religious conversion which was later dropped due to pressure from diocese and DMK's Kanimozhi.
A Tragedy that could have been avoided
Retired police officer, advocate and author V Sithannan says that the deaths and the entire episode could have been avoided. In a video message, he said that the offences of Jayaraj and Bennix are small offences and bailable ones and they need not have taken into custody. The hospitals did not bother to do a thorough medical examination. The magistrate automatically and mechanically gave the duo to judicial custody. Had either one of them applied their mind, the tragedy would have been avoided", he said. Head constable Murugan and anothers have been suspended. 12 policemen were transferred to other places.
"Police has absolute power to arrest but it is not compulsory. In the present case the charges are bailable ones and there was no need for arrest. Even if arrested, they should have been let out on bail at the police station itself. They should have kept in mind the SC warning of crowding unwanted people in jails during Covid19. Only those accused of murder, dacoity, robbery, rape should be arrested", suggests Sithannan.
He also decried demands of the protesters to book the Sub Inspectors under IPC 302. "Demands for booking police officials under IPC 302 can’t be entertained at this stage without a proper judicial probe", he said.
The State Human Rights commission taking suo moto action, has sought a detailed probe by its intelligence wing with a report within 8 weeks along with documents, CCTV footage of the concerned police station. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High court on 24th initiated suo motu proceedings saying it would monitor the case. It has ordered a panel of doctors to conduct a autopsy and video record the same.