Madras HC orders CBI inquiry into police firing on anti-Sterlite protest
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Madras HC orders CBI inquiry into police firing on anti-Sterlite protest

Thirteen people were killed in police firing in May when violence broke out during protest by locals demanding closure of the Sterlite copper plant.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2018 20:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Anti-sterlite protest,Thoothukudi,Sterlite protests
Police personnel baton charge at a protestor demanding the closure of Sterlite Copper unit, in Tuticorin.(PTI Photo)

The Madras high court’s Madurai bench on Tuesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the police firing on the anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi on May 22 that left 13 persons dead and scores injured.

The bench of Justices C T Selvam and A M Basheer Ahamed transferred all cases pertaining to the police firing to the CBI, while also quashing the detention of six members of Makkal Adhikaram (a left leaning outfit) under the National Security Act (NSA) for allegedly instigating violence.

The bench also transferred all the anti-Sterlite violence cases to the agency, ordering it to carry out a fresh probe.

The copper smelter plant owned by mining major Vedanta Ltd in Thoothukodi hit the headlines following daily protests for 100 days against its planned expansion. On May 22, a massive protest was held by the local residents which triggered a major violence, leading the police to open fire.

According to Thoothukudi police, deputy tehsildar Sekar ordered police firing against the protesters to control the unruly crowd which picketed district collectorate and the Sterlite housing quarters endangering what public life and property. While 13 persons, including women, were killed, about 60 others were injured and so far the Tamil Nadu police have registered a total of 173 FIRs.

Last month, the high court also directed the state government to furnish videos in its possession allegedly showing the protesters instigating violence with petrol bombs. It had also asked why a CBI probe should not be ordered into the violence and said that a CBI investigation will instill confidence in public minds.

Early this month, the court also quashed the NSA invoked against advocate Hari Raghavan who had appeared for the protesters.

The Court also summoned the Thoothukudi district collector Sandeep Nanduri and directed him not to register cases against villagers who protested against the Sterlite plant.

“The Court has given its order for the CBI probe and the government will meet to decide on the next course of action,” state minister D Jayakumar said responding to the Madras High Court order.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 12:31 IST