Situation in southern Tamil Nadu remained ‘tense but under control’ on Monday a day after police firing on protesting dalits killed 7 persons. Five persons had died by Sunday evening and the death toll rose by two on Monday after two persons succumbed to injuries at the government hospital, Madurai.
ADGP (law and order) S George, on Monday justified the police firing without which the situation could not have been brought under control. Visiting police officials injured in the stone pelting by the dalit protestors at a local Madurai hospital, George told press persons that the ‘situation was tense but under control’.
There were couple of instances of picketing in Madurai city but were brough swiftly under control.
In Ramanathapuram’s Paramakudi town, where the trouble began on Sunday after dalit leader TMKK founder John Pandian was detained and prevented from entering the town by police. On Monday he sought permission to visit the next of kin of the deceased in police firing, but permission was refused, police sources in Madurai told Hindustan Times.
In villages surrounding Parmakudi in Ramanathapuram district residents had fled homes in the fear of retaliation by police.
Meanwhile, chief minister Jayalalithaa, who had justified the police firing on Sunday in a statement, accepted the opposition plea for a judicial probe into the incident and has set up a commission headed by a retired High Court judge to inquire into the Sunday police firing.
She made the announcement during a special calling attention motion in the assembly. Jayalalithaa described the firing as unfortunate but justified it by saying that the police fired in self defence and to protect government property.
“The police first advised the protestors to disperse. Disregarding the advice the protestors pelted stones at the police. The protestors indulged in arson and set fire to a fire engine and a police vehicle and the police resorted to firing in self defence and also to protect public property as the protestors threw stones and petrol bombs,”Jayalalithaa said.
She had also announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of each of the dead in the firing and Rs.15,000 for those who are injured.