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By Nidharshana | Jul 05, 2020 10:42 AM

The on-going investigation regarding the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix in the Sathankulam Police station, has revealed that Friends of Police (FOP), an initiative by the local community in the state, have been “helping the Inspector and Sub-Inspectors.”

TN police suspends friends of police in districts sathankulam

The Crime Branch – CID has confirmed around 6 FOP members who were involved in this case. “We suspect that all six of them had a role in the custodial torture that happened on June 19 night and similar incidents in the past. We have identified them, and all six will be arrested,” a concerned officer involved in the probe, told the Sunday Express.

In a statement which was referring to this case, the State administrator of FOP, G. Lourduswamy said, “They were not members of FOP but volunteers hired for Corona related work.” Hence, the suspected FOPs did not possess FOP identity cards and also didn’t go through the required training sessions.

So far, five police officers who were involved in the custodial deaths have been arrested. The CBI will take over the probe as soon as the state government’s recommendation is passed. The officer added, “One of the arrested officers said they had beaten the father and son the same way they had been beating others. What we are now probing is the nature of the crime that lasted for several hours in the night, and how these FOPs also engaged in it.”

Further, FOPs have been banned in various districts of Tamil Nadu.

What is FOP?

FOP is a voluntary system where the members are not provided with a salary. It was originally formed in 1993 at Ramanathapuram to bring the police and the public closer.

“Volunteers can apply, and there are minimum criteria like no political affiliation or criminal background, etc. Those who apply are mostly rural youth from poor backgrounds. It is not the salary but the proximity to police that is an attraction. Some with criminal tendencies take advantage of a favourable environment in the system,” said another officer.

An IG TV rank officer said, “It is being widely misused in small towns and rural areas where police officers keep FOPs as sidekicks…to buy tea or food, help in vehicle checks, take seized vehicles to stations, or take people in illegal custody. In recent years, especially in southern districts like Thoothukudi, the police system is facing challenges from officers with strong caste and religious identities, who rely on the support of FOPs.”

அரசியல், விளையாட்டு, நாட்டுநடப்பு, குற்ற சம்பவங்கள், வர்த்தகம், தொழில்நுட்பம், சினிமா, வாழ்க்கை முறை என பலதரப்பட்ட சுவாரஸ்யமான செய்திகளை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கு கிளிக் செய்யவும்      



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