High Court Judge must probe into pre-planned Tuticorin Sterlite Firing : NCHRO
Press Club Chepauk, Chennai
05 June 2018
Chennai: Alleging that police firing against anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi on May 22 was a pre-planned assault, the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), has urged the government to form a judicial probe under a sitting high court judge.
Speaking to mediapersons in Chennai on Tuesday, Chairperson of NCHRO, Prof A .Marx, a rights activist and leader of a fact finding team, which conducted study on the police fire at Thoothukudi said the police opened fire against the protesters without any provocation. Colluding with Centre, the State government had resorted to the extreme action only to support the Sterlite. This was done to terrify the masses and prevent them from opposing corporates in the future.
The 12-member team, includes social activists and advocates, met the victims and local residents in Thoothukudi and neighbouring villages on May 27 and 28. Presenting the final report of the fact finding team, Marx said that the judicial probe set up by the government under leadership of former high court judge would not bring out facts behind the shoot out and render justice. Instead, the government should form a judicial probe under the leadership of a sitting High Court Judge.
Denying presence of anti-social elements or extremists, he said that volunteers from Makkal Adhikaram and Revolutionary Youth Force took part in the protest. They were not anti-social elements. From the beginning the protestors kept the political parties away from their agitation. Many leaders took part in their individual capacity and not as a leader of a political party. The anti-Sterlite agitation was a people’s movement and outsiders had no role in the protest.
During the 100 daylong struggle, the people took part in the protest with their children, women and elders. On May 22 everyone in the family took part in the agitation demanding immediate closure of Sterlite.
Marx added “if they planned to cause violence and arson, they would not have taken their children to protest venue”. The police created situation as though protesters caused violence. Agreeing that some of the protesters pelted stones at police and burnt vehicles, he said the police failed to control the crowd. However, even before the protesters entered collectorate, they noticed fire on the campus. The snipers, in plainclothes, selected their target and shot them at close range.
Over 200 cops in plainclothes were seen among the protestors on May 22. ASP Selvanagarathinam and Sipcot police inspector Hariharan played a crucial role in the attack against the protesters. In addition to the existing GO passed by the government to close down the Sterlite, he added that the government should pass additional GO to close the unit permanently.
NCHRO has urged the government to hike the solatium granted to the family members of the deceased to 1 crore from 20 lakh and provide employment opportunity to a member in the deceased family, distribute Rs 20 lakh to those who were injured and meet their medical expense. The NCHRO also demanded the government to withdraw cases registered against protesters including T. Velmurugan leader of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi. They also sought to register murder case against the officials who were involved in this human slaughter.