The death of a father-son duo allegedly in police custody in this district has caused a furore with the Madras High Court seeking a report on the matter.
Shops in the district remained closed on Wednesday to protest the alleged custodial death of the two traders in Sathankulam police station, even as a judicial probe has been ordered into the matter.
The Madurai bench of the High Court directed the police to submit a report on July 26 over the death of the duo.
The relatives of P Jayaraj and his son J Fennix, alleged that the two, earlier picked up for questioning for keeping their mobile accessories shop open during the lockdown, were thrashed by the police personnel while in custody.
Fennix was bleeding when he was brought to the prison, jail authorities said.
Tuticorin Collector Sandeep Nanduri said the duo had been earlier arrested and lodged in the Kovilpatti sub-jail. While Fennix fell ill and died at the Kovilpatti General Hospital on Monday, his father died on Tuesday morning, he said.
"There were complaints that they were killed in police assault..a judicial probe has been ordered," he said.
On Wednesday, Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendi of the division bench directed the Tuticorin Superintendent of Police to submit a report on the deaths by July 26.
KP Shanmuga Rajeswaran, senior police officer and Tuticorin senior police official Arun Balagopal were present when the case came up for hearing, although the court had directed state police chief JK Tripathy to appear, but he could not do so since he was in a meeting in Chennai.
The family demanded that a murder case be registered against two sub-inspectors, since transferred, alleging they were responsible for the death of their father and brother. They said they had lost both the male members of their family.
The relatives said they would not accept the bodies till their demand was heeded to, even as the post mortem was held at the Tirunelveli Government Hospital.
Various political parties including the DMK wanted action those responsible for the duo's death.
Party leader and Tuticorin Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi dubbed the incident as "violence" committed by the police and wanted action against two sub-inspectors for their alleged roles in the incident.
In a series of tweets, she said their mere transfer to the Armed Reserve was not a punishment and added she had taken up with the District Collector the need to ensure stringent action against them. She also demanded that the state government provide compensation to the family.