Outrage mounts in India over killing of father, son in police custody
Public outrage is mounting in India over the killing in police custody of a father and his son in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu, with comparisons being made to the killing of African-American George Floyd in the United States.
J. Jayaraj, 59, and his son, Bennicks (Fenix) Immanuel, 31, were reportedly subjected to extreme beating and sexual abuse at the Sathankulam police station in the port city of Thoothukudi and died earlier this week.
Police in Sathankulam, a town located 50 kilometers south of Thoothukudi, said in a first information report (FIR) reviewed by Reuters that Jayaraj and Bennicks were picked up on June 19 for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules.
Bennicks died on Monday after complaining of breathlessness and Jayaraj died Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said in a statement on Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of tweets have since been posted using the hashtag #JusticeforJayarajandBennix, turning it into one of the top Twitter topics trending in India on Friday and among the top 30 trending globally.
Indian celebrities and politicians also condemned the police action.
Palaniswami, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who oversees the police in the state, said in a statement on Wednesday that two officers involved in the incident had been suspended.
The case of the Indian father and son has been compared to that of unarmed African-American George Floyd, who was suffocated when a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s death was captured on camera by bystanders and has prompted ongoing protests in the US and elsewhere against police brutality and racial profiling.