Denied to speak on Sterlite police firing, DMK stages walkout of Tamil Nadu assembly
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party in the Tamil Nadu legislature, staged a walkout on Thursday as Speaker P Dhanapal denied permission to MK Stalin, leader of the opposition, to speak about the Sterlite police firing issue. Dhanapal said he denied permission as the matter was sub-judice and that a single judge commission was already enquiring into the firing.
Tamil Nadu police had opened fire on protesters demanding closure of Sterlite’s copper smelter in Thoothukkudi on May 22, resulting in the deaths of 13 people. The protesters alleged that the smelter was causing pollution in the area. Subsequently, Tamil Nadu government had ordered permanent closure of the plant.
Dhanapal said he denied Stalin’s request to speak on the issue. “It is unnecessary to speak about the issue in the assembly as a judicial probe is being carried out by retired judge justice Aruna Jegadeesan’s single-man judiciary commission set up by the government. Also, there are cases regarding this issue, which are pending with the Madras high court,” he said.
Dhanapal also ordered removal of Stalin’s comments over the police firing from assembly records. Subsequently, all DMK legislators walked out.
Speaking to reporters outside the assembly, Stalin said, “It is not clear who ordered firing during the protest. Unless the CBI examines the issue, the truth cannot be brought out. We tried to register our comments inside the assembly but the speaker did not allow us to do so”.
But Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswamy said, “As the matter is being probed by the judiciary commission and the case is with the Madras high court, it is not proper to discuss the issue inside the assembly. Even when DMK ruled the state, they had refused permission to speak on issues which were subjudice.”
Raveendran Duraisamy, a political analyst, said,” If the speaker had allowed Stalin to speak on the issue, the DMK could have used it for political mileage and this might be the reason why the speaker denied him permission...”