Last week, a mobile phone shopkeeper and his son, Jeyaraj and Fenix, were arrested by Thoothukudi police over an altercation about shutting down their store a little later than lockdown curfew. The incident that took place in Saathankulam, saw the policemen dragging the father-son duo to the police station, and according to several eyewitness accounts, brutally beating them up. Gruesome details of the policemen sexually assaulting the two over a period of three days have also emerged. Earlier this week, they both died.
While people from the town, traders and MLAs took to streets to protest against the horrific incident, the mainstream media maintained a studied silence over the issue until Thursday. Only a few celebrities like director-producer PA Ranjith, ‘Put Chutney’ Rajmohan, and singer-RJ Suchitra spoke up against the brutality initially.
பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர்களின் பக்கம் நிற்க்காமல், மிக கொடூரமாக நிகழ்த்தபட்டிருக்கும் சாத்தான் குளம் தந்தை, மகன் படுகொலைக்கு அவர்களின் உடல் நலக்குறைபாடு தான் காரணம் என்று அறிக்கை விடுத்து, படுகொலைக்கு காரணமான காவலர்களை காப்பதற்க்கு துணியும் தமிழக அரசே! நீங்கள் தான் மக்களின் அரசா??
— pa.ranjith (@beemji) June 25, 2020
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While Rajmohan read out a petition filed by Jeyaraj’s wife, narrating the incident in Tamil, Suchitra gave a graphic account of the same in English for the wider audience. They narrated how the father and son were severely attacked for no apparent reason and tortured to death, sexually assaulted, their genitals smashed, and their chest hair ripped off.
The two also laid emphasis on the similarity with the tragic death of George Floyd in the United States that sparked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement across the world. The videos also highlighted the fact that several Indians both ordinary people and celebrities supported the BLM movement against racism and expressed displeasure at the injustice that had occurred to George, while they are yet to react to this.
As a result of these hard hitting videos, several celebrities in India, especially down south, have now tweeted against the brutality, trending the hashtag ‘Justice For Jeyaraj And Fenix’.
ரசிகர்களாகிய நாம் சமூக ஊடகங்களில் பல விஷயங்களை ட்ரெண்ட் செய்கிறோம்!
இந்த குடும்பத்திற்கு நீதி தேவை!
இது வைரல் ஆகணும்
Super⭐️ 🌎Nayagan Thala Thalapathy Suriya Vikram மற்றும் அனைத்து நட்சத்திரங்களின் ரசிகர்களையும் கேட்டுக்கொள்கிறேன் #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix@CMOTamilNadu https://t.co/4PQVw4C5nD
— Shanthnu 🌟 ஷாந்தனு Buddy (@imKBRshanthnu) June 25, 2020
#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix No one is above the law, justice must be done for this inhuman act.
— Jayam Ravi (@actor_jayamravi) June 25, 2020
What happened in Saththankulam is HORRIBLE!! Insult to Humanism… The accused officials needs to be Punished and Justice has to be given to those poor souls…. Some Humans are more dangerous than Viruses!!#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix
— karthik subbaraj (@karthiksubbaraj) June 25, 2020
This is beyond cruelty…
Heart in pain literally !
— Indhuja (@Actress_Indhuja) June 25, 2020
Meanwhile, the two policemen Raghu Ganesh and Balakrishnan, who assaulted the father and son, have been shifted to the department of the armed forces without any consequences for their actions. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edapadi K Palaniswami announced that a solatium of Rs. 10 lakh each will be provided to the family of the deceased and a government job will be offered to one of their family members based on their qualification. Following this, DMK leader MK Stalin announced that a sum of Rs. 25 lakhs will be provided to the family.
While the family of Jeyaraj has accepted the body of the duo and performed the last rites, which they had earlier refused to, the inhabitants of Saathankulam have filed several petitions demanding severe action be initiated upon the policemen involved in the case and justice be served to the family.
சாத்தான்குளம் காவல்துறை விசாரணையில் உயிரிழந்த ஜெயராஜ், பென்னிக்ஸ் ஆகியோரின் குடும்பத்திற்கு கழகத் தலைவர் அண்ணன் தளபதி அவர்கள் அறிவித்தபடி, திமுக சார்பில் ரூ.25 லட்சம் நிதியுதவியை நேரில் சந்தித்து அளித்தேன்.#JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix pic.twitter.com/gv735J6DjH
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) June 26, 2020