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Tamil Nadu police killings: Saamy and Singam director Hari regrets making films celebrating the force

Singam star Suriya said the death of father Jeyaraj and son Bennix in police custody is nothing short of organized crime and the magistrate and doctors involved are also culpable.

Rajinikanth, Suriya and Hari

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Prominent Tamil cinema celebrities from superstar Rajinikanth to actor Suriya and filmmaker Hari have expressed shock over the custodial death of shopkeeper P Jeyaraj and his son Bennix, who were picked up for questioning by police in Sathankulam town in Tuticorin district for violating lockdown rules.

The father and son were picked up by police for allegedly keeping their mobile shop open beyond the hours allowed. While Bennix died at the Kovilpatti general hospital on 22 June, Jeyaraj died the following day.

Actor Suriya, in a statement, did not mince words when he described the incident as organized crime and pointed out that the police alone are not at fault. The magistrate and doctors involved in the case are equally culpable, he said. He also said the case can’t be termed a negligent act because the deaths have put the credibility of the police department at stake.

Rajinikanth, according to his publicist, called Jeyaraj’s wife and conveyed his condolences.

Filmmaker Hari, best known for helming the popular Tamil cop films Saamy (2003), starring Vikram, and Singam (2010), starring Suriya, said he regrets celebrating the force in his films.

"These kinds of incidents should not take place in Tamil Nadu again," Hari said in his statement. "Due to a few officers, the whole police department is now tainted. I regret making five films celebrating the police."

Actor-politician Khushbu Sundar tweeted, "Will we and can we see law taking its course and punishing the guilty without any further delay in #Jeyaraj and #Fenix case? The culprits cannot and should not get away. A family has lost their most loved ones. Justice delayed is justice denied. #JusticeForJeyarajAndFenix (sic)."

Composer D Imman tweeted: “Terrified to hear the brutality inflicted upon Jeyaraj & Fenix. Totally inhuman and couldn’t digest the torture they must’ve gone through. Let’s raise our voices for this ruthless act India! Jeyaraj and Fenix is the George Floyd of India (sic)."