Two weeks after a 25-year-old man died after allegedly being beaten up at a police station in Chennai, unverified CCTV footage has surfaced online purportedly showing the man running on a road, falling down and being beaten up by two policemen. The footage has, once again, sparked a debate on custodial torture and given weight to the man’s family’s allegations that he died due to police torture.
On April 18, the Secretariat Colony police detained V Vignesh and his friend Suresh from an autorickshaw for allegedly possessing ganja near Kellys signal in the city. The police claimed that Vignesh attempted to attack them with a knife and they managed to escape. Later, both were taken to the Secretariat Colony police station. Hours later, on April 19, Vignesh was declared dead on arrival when the police took him to a hospital saying he had vomited after eating breakfast and suffered a seizure.
In the video, a man can be seen running from the main road towards a narrow street and falling down after losing balance. He is chased by two policemen and one of them can be seen beating him once with a stick. A policeman can be seen picking something from the ground.
The Secretariat Colony police were not available for comment.
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After Vignesh’s death, his family raised a hue and cry saying he died due to police brutality and alleged that they were being paid Rs 1 lakh to keep mum on the issue. Opposition parties jumped in and demanded the government take action against the officers.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin then announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to Vignesh’s kin, said the government would bear Suresh’s medical expenses and transferred the case to CB-CID. A sub-inspector, a constable and a home guard were placed under suspension.