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Chennai Custody Death: Post-Mortem Reveals 13 Wounds; Cops Accused of Covering Up 'SC Status'

Rights bodies in Tamil Nadu and the victim's family have alleged that a 25-year-old, who belonged to a Scheduled Caste, died due to police torture on April 18.

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New Delhi: The post-mortem report of Vignesh, the 25-year-old Chennai man who died in police custody, has revealed that he had 13 different bruises on his body.

Rights bodies in Tamil Nadu and Vignesh’s family have both alleged that Vignesh, who belonged to a Scheduled Caste, died due to police torture. Police have claimed that Vignesh, caught over possession of cannabis on April 18, died due to a seizure the next day and in spite of medical intervention.

The case is now being probed by the Crime Branch and Criminal Investigation Department and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has promised the victim’s family Rs 10 lakh compensation.

Footage from a CCTV video has meanwhile shown Vignesh being chased by policemen who are then allegedly seen beating him with what appears to be a baton.

Vignesh’s brother Vinod addressed a press conference where he claimed that police had offered his family Rs 1 lakh “to keep mum on the case.”

Post-mortem findings

NDTV has reported that the post-mortem report reveals contusions in several body parts, including his head, above the eyes, cheek and arms.

In addition, The News Minute has it that the report also points to a fracture in Vignesh’s right leg. These injuries were caused before Vignesh’s death. However, reports on the cause of his death are still pending.

The post-mortem was conducted by an associate professor and an assistant professor at Government Kilpauk Medical College, TNM has reported.

The post-mortem report also contradicts police’s claim that there were no injuries on Vignesh’s face and says there were two – contusions on his cheek and near his eyebrow. Police had even released a photo of Vignesh’s face with the injuries seemingly absent.

SC status 

On Saturday, April 30, a joint action committee against custodial torture comprising advocates and social workers called for murder charges to be slapped on police, along with a case under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Times of India has reported that Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal and additional commissioner N. Kannan have appeared before the National Commission of Scheduled Castes over accusations that police have attempted to cover up the fact that Vignesh belonged to an SC community.

NCSC vice-chairman Arun Halder met Vignesh’s family and also said police had used excessive force.