The death of an autorickshaw driver in Tenkasi on Saturday, nearly 20 days after he was picked up by the police in connection with a property dispute, triggered allegations of custodial torture.

Tension prevailed in the town on Sunday when his body was handed over to his relatives.

Members of the opposition parties and the advocate fraternity in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts demanded a judicial probe into the death.

Auto driver Kathiresan, in his mid-twenties, hailing from Veerakeralampudur, died at the Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital, where he was admitted on June 10.

About 20 days ago, a sub-inspector from Veerakeralampudur police station in Tenkasi district had taken him for questioning in connection with a complaint submitted by one Senthil over a property dispute.

Kathiresan’s family members alleged that he was beaten up during the police interrogation and had sustained bleeding injuries.

On June 10, when Kathiresan complained of uneasiness and vomited blood, his family members took him to the Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital, where he succumbed on Saturday night.

After the post-mortem was conducted on Sunday, the family received the body and left for their home at 2 p.m.

Police pickets were deployed in Tenkasi to ensure that there were no untoward incidents.

CPI(M) Tirunelveli district secretary K. G. Baskaran told reporters that the incident, which came against the backdrop of the custodial deaths of a father and son in Thoothukudi, raised doubts about police torture.

The State government should direct the Tenkasi police to register a murder case against the sub-inspector and a constable and arrest them, he said, and demanded that compensation be provided to the family.

The auto driver’s father has sent a petition to the Chief Minister’s cell and the Tenkasi Superintendent of Police seeking registration of murder case against the police personnel, an advocate said.

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