Director Hari, known for directing hit cop-centric Tamil films like Singam and Saamy, condemned the custodial deaths of P Jayaraj and his son Fenix, adding that he regrets making films that glorified the police force.
The filmmaker, in a letter dated 28 June, wrote that incidents of police brutality should never take place again in Tamil Nadu. "The only way for that is to punish all those involved with the highest sentence. The violation by some in the police force has brought dishonour upon the entire force. I am deeply saddened today for having made five films glorifying the police," he wrote, according to The News Minute.
Here is the filmmaker's statement
Director Hari regrets making five films which glorified the police force in his career. He says Tamil Nadu people shouldn't be subjected to another cruel incident like the one that happened in #Sathankulam.#JusticeForJayarajandBennicks#DirectorHaripic.twitter.com/whYYzfxos8
" Rajasekar (@sekartweets) June 28, 2020
TNM notes that Hari's filmography focused on the police force include the Vikram-starrer Saamy (2003), Saamy Square (2018), as well as the Singam series with Suriya in the lead. All these films have the cops engage in brutal violence against criminals.
Singam has been remade as Singham in Hindi by Rohit Shetty with Ajay Devgn in the eponymous role. The series also saw remakes in Kannada, Bengali and Punjabi.
Jayaraj and Fenix, arrested for ''violating'' lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on 23 June, with their relatives alleging they were severely thrashed at Sathankulam police station by police personnel earlier.
The incident has triggered a national furore, leading to the suspension of five policemen, including an inspector and two sub-inspectors.
On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said guidelines have already been issued to police on how to deal with the public and traders, indicating that the men in khaki must have a humane approach towards them. "They have been advised that public cannot be disturbed. If there is any issue, a case has to be filed and due action taken," he said.
Meanwhile, Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan said guidelines laid down for police on handling arrests or accused persons include not even using hurtful language against them, even as beating them up was "unlawful." He told reporters that there are a number of guidelines, besides Supreme Court directions, vis-a-vis arrests.