An army man was beaten to death by a DMK councilor in Tamil Nadu. While 9 people involved in the incident have been arrested, police claim that there is “no political angle”. The army man’s family fear for their lives and his brother, also an army man, has said that he will not return to the service until justice is served. After the incident gained the attention of national media, more incidents of harassment at the hand of DMK party functionaries have come to fore.
Lance Naik Prabhu (29) of Madras Regiment was attacked by the DMK councilor and his men a week ago. Prabhu had gone to wash clothes along with his mother and brother at a water tank in his village in Krishnagiri. Chinnasamy, a DMK councilor of the locality, picked up an argument with Prabhu and his family when they started washing clothes. A scuffle ensued but they were separated by neighbours and onlookers.
Later in the evening Chinnasamy along with his son and other minions went to the army man’s house and started abusing his father. Prabhu’s brother Prabhakar, who is also an army man, told the media that their father asked them to go inside the house. Even as they were speaking, Chinnasamy and his men attacked his father with a knife and the two army men who went to prevent it were assaulted.
Prabhu was thrashed badly and sustained injuries on the head and was admitted to ICU. Despite 9 days’ treatment he succumbed to the injuries and passed away on February 14. The incident didn’t garner media attention until the DMK councilor’s involvement came out. Prabhu’s family told media that Chinnasamy threatened saying “you might be working in the Indian Army but you cannot do anything to me”. He also tried to beat the brothers with chappal saying, “army men will understand only if beaten with chappal”.
Even though national media has kow picked up the incident, Tamil media has largely kept quite apart from reporting the incident and following arrests. Krishnagiri Superintendent of Police(SP) Saroj Kumar Thakur on the other hand has claimed that there is no political angle to the incident as the deceased army man and DMK man Chinnasamy are relatives. The Krishnagiri district administration had earlier banned a buffalo race event planned to be held on February 2. It was organised as a part of the Gopachandram Chinna Tirupati temple festival.
Opposing the ban Hindu youths who came to participate in the event staged a protest on the Chennai-Bengaluru National Highway obstructing traffic. Following this, the district administration relented and allowed the buffalo race. But youngsters continued their protest demanding that the race should be allowed in all parts of the district. It allegedly resulted in a small-scale riot and police lathi charged the youngsters. A video taken during the incident showed SP Saroj Thakur kicking a youngster repeatedly.
Later he claimed that there were youngsters from other states and he “acted” like kicking to discipline the youngsters as one of them had allegedly misbehaved with a police woman. So aspersions are cast on his claim that the murder of the army man is a political issue and that police is taking necessary action against the culprits.
DMK politicians and sympathisers on the other hand tried to discredit the whole incident by claiming that Lance Naik Prabhu and his family washed clothes using drinking water. But his brother Prabhakar has said that others washed even cars using the water from that tank.
After the issue gained importance 9 men including Chinnasamy and his son Guru Suryamurthi have been arrested. Suryamurthi is a cop attached to the Armed Reserve Police. Prabhu’s wife told ANI that Suryamurthi stepped on her husband’s throat and crushed it as a result of which he couldn’t even drink water.
After Prabhu’s death garnered national media’s attention, other army men have come forward with their own horror stories at the hands of DMK politicians. Raghu, a friend of Prabhu and a fellow army man, has said that he was attacked by people with DMK connections when he visited a relative’s house. The thugs attacked his wife and she sustained a severe injury on her head.
Even though some Tamil media reported it at that time it largely went unnoticed. Now with Prabhu’s death other cases of DMK men disrespecting and abusing army men have come to fore. It was YouTuber Karthik Gopinath who shared a video of army man Raghu talking about the ordeal his family faced. He was threatened by Krishnagiri police Twitter handle on Twitter for sharing the video. The handle claimed that Raghu was booked for rioting and a few other charges and that anyone spreading “rumours and false messages”. It further said that not all the claims made by Raghu are true.
It has come as a shock that police would target a person merely for sharing the grievances of someone. TN BJP has extended support to Prabhu’s family and Akhil Bharatiya Poorva Sainik Parishad (ABPSSP) staged a protest demanding strict action against Prabhu’s killers.