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Retired judges want probe into death

Tabrez Sayekar, 30, a victim of the violence in Jaitapur earlier this week, was fired upon at close range, said campaigners spearheading the movement against the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur.

mumbai Updated: Apr 24, 2011 01:18 IST
Snehal Rebello

Tabrez Sayekar, 30, a victim of the violence in Jaitapur earlier this week, was fired upon at close range, said campaigners spearheading the movement against the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur.

Justice (retired) PB Sawant of the Supreme Court and justice (retired) BG Kolse Patil of the Bombay high court, who are part of the campaign, said a judicial inquiry led by a sitting high court judge should be conducted into the death. The state government had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident three days ago.

“There is suspicion that Tabrez’s death was a targeted killing, and that policemen were injured is not true,” said Sawant. “We don’t trust the magistrate appointed by the state government. We will not accept any conclusions of the report.”

Even when HT, on April 19 contacted Dr Angad Chate, the civil surgeon who monitored the post-mortem report at Ratnagiri Civil Hospital, he said Sayekar succumbed to bullet injuries to his heart, kidney, liver and lungs. But a day later Chate said that just one bullet in the lower abdomen killed Tabrez. When contacted for a clarification on April 21, Chate said, “I have got instructions from the highest authorities not to disclose the report.”

To ensure a transparent inquiry, Kolse Patil said a detailed account of the sequence of events would be recorded from villagers. “We will then submit a petition in the high court asking the chief justice to appoint a judge and conduct the inquiry," said Kolse Patil. “We will start work on it soon.”

Campaigners are also upset at the way in which the police handled the situation. “The police should have ideally fired in the air or warned them. The government seems to have ordered the police to do as they please,” Sawant added.

Procedure says police should first warn rioters; then fire a round in the air and if the situation worsens, use teargas shells or rubber bullets to disperse the mob. If these fail, then a go-ahead is given to fire at the mob but below the knees.