Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has lashed out at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his government, labelling them "prime accused" in the controversial deaths of two men - a father and son in the town of Tuticorin - who were allegedly tortured by police before being sent to jail.
Representatives of Kamal Haasan spoke to members of their family today.
"A government and chief minister who blindly support police murders are also prime accused. The perpetrators, abettors, mute spectators and those who tried to cover this crime up ought to be punished," Kamal Haasan said.
Kamal Haasan also said that by "supporting police excess the Tamil Nadu government permits terrorism".
P Jayaraj and his son, Beniks, were arrested June 19 for keeping their mobile phone shop in Tuticorin open beyond permitted hours amid the coronavirus lockdown. They died at a hospital four days later and relatives alleged cops had severely thrashed them at the Sathankulam Police Station.
They alleged injuries to the rectum and pointed to other alleged signs of torture, like tufts of hair pulled from the chest, and demanded murder charges against the cops involved.
Jayaraj and his son had been charged with criminal intimidation and verbally abusing police officers.
The incident triggered massive outrage in the town where 13 people died in police firing two years ago during demonstrations against a copper smelter, something Kamal Haasan referred to in his statement.
"Let our voice for justice shake up this government's arrogance. No action against police who killed 13 anti-Sterlite protesters (and now) to attack two as they bleed is a murderous crime," he said.
The law is for the people and the judiciary should stand with the people, Kamal Haasan added, urging the government to get at the truth of this incident.
The Chief Minister, who controls the police department, expressed sorrow over the deaths and announced Rs 20 lakh in compensation and a government job for a member of the family. However, he was silent on torture allegations.
The case has been taken up by the Madras High Court's Madurai bench.