The Madras high court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to explain the conduct of Chennai police on allegations of launching “excessive violence” on peaceful Jallikattu protesters at Marina beach on January 23.
Justice R Mahadevan directed advocate general R Muthukumaraswamy to file a counter affidavit within two weeks after a criminal petition from advocate B Kumar came up for hearing.
According to the directive, three crucial aspects of the events on January 23 must be explained: Why were the peaceful protesters attacked, what action has been taken against the police who were allegedly involved in the violence, and why was medical treatment reportedly denied to those injured?
Kumar, who had participated in the protests, submitted a video before the HC that allegedly showed police instigating violence and damaging vehicles. He also attested that “police entered the houses of innocent people and damage articles”.
In another PIL, senior advocate R Gandhi sought a CBI probe and judicial inquiry into the incident.
Chennai police commissioner S George in a press conference earlier stated that the videos were “morphed”, before adding that an internal investigation was underway, and that any policeman found responsible would be punished.
The National Human Rights Commission had issued notices to both police and the Tamil Nadu government, expressing concern over “unprovoked excess”, and demanded a report on the incident.
More than 15,000 policemen were deployed at Marina beach and across the state capital on January 23. Several incidence of police violence -- from students being detained and arrested to fishermen being attacked and their homes vandalised -- have emerged since then.
On Tuesday, chief minister O Panneerselvam announced that all criminal charges against 36 students who were arrested for arson would be dropped, and that an investigation would be done by a panel headed by a retired judge.