In a recent case of police brutality in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, a 47-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death by Special Sub-Inspector R. Periyasami. The deceased, A. Murugesan, was a farmer as reported by the police. A video showing the police officer beating Murusegan with lathi (baton) till he fell unconscious made rounds on the internet on Tuesday. The cop was arrested after the man died on Wednesday.
The video showed Periyasami thrashing the farmer at Pappinaickenpatti check post on Tuesday morning while two other officials were standing by and watching the brutality. It also showed Murugesan and his friends pleading with the Sub-Inspector to stop beating.
The incident occurred when Murugesan and his friends were returning from Kallakurichi district after consuming alcohol. The trio, returning on a two-wheeler, were caught by the police at Ethapur and was questioned about being inebriated. They had gone to the district to consume alcohol as the liquor shops in their district were closed due to lockdown.
According to a senior police official, the trio were asked to leave their two-wheeler and walk on account of being intoxicated, as per a report by the Hindustan Times. The officer further added that Murugesan did not oblige and initiated a row with the police. After the argument got heated, the officer started to publicly thrash the farmer. This was filmed by one of Murugesan's friends.
After Murugesan fell unconscious on the road, his friends hurried him to a primary healthcare centre in Thumbal village in an ambulance and then taken to a government hospital at Attur town. He was later moved to Salem Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College where he was declared "brought dead" by the doctors.
According to the senior officials, the post mortem report has been completed but the cause of death is yet to be revealed. However, the records stated that the farmer was intoxicated and had gashes on his body.
Murugesan's wife demanded strict action be taken against the police officers responsible for her husband's death. This incident happens after a previous case in June 2020 of police brutality in the Thoothukudi district when a father and son were reported dead in police custody. This last year's incident saw severe outrage in the country. Murugesan's death triggered several locals who then went to the Yethapur police station to demand action against the officers.
Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a ₹10 lakh solatium for the family of the deceased.