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Today Date : Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Thoothukudi firing: Commissions faults the then Collector and Police

Thoothukudi firing: Commissions faults the then Collector and Police

The inquiry commission headed by retired High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan, which probed the police firing during the anti-sterlite protests in Thoothukudi district in May 2018 that killed 13 persons, has said that police firing was unprovoked and indiscriminate. 

The report said that the then Thoothukudi collector N Venkatesh had made ill-conceived decisions and the police fired at fleeing protestors and there was no material to indicate the protesters were militants. 
The report further said that police firing was not because of the provocation, instead they had taken aim at fleeing protesters while hiding at safe places. 

Pointing out that the firing was at long range and not at short range, the report said that the action indicates that sharp-shooters were involved. There was no threat to the life of the police personnel as the protesters were unarmed even though they pelted stones. 

According to the report, the entry and exit points of bullets on the victims’ bodies indicated that the bullets entered from the back of the skull and exited through the front of the face and that the victims died without even knowing what hit them is now an established fact.This indicates nothing but gross negligence on the part of the officials and clear failure on the part of the senior police officers, the report said and added that there was a clear lack of coordination among the officials. 

The then district collector was complacent and was found in dereliction of duty, the report said, adding that he was at Kovilpatti, some 100 kilometres away from the district headquarters where protests were taking place. The commission has asked the government to take departmental action against him. 

The commission in its report has named top police officials including the then Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Shailesh Kumar Yadav (now ADGP, police welfare), deputy inspector general of police (Tirunelveli range) Kapil Kumar C Sircar (now an additional commissioner of police, Chennai city); superintendent of police (Thoothukudi) P Mahendran (now deputy commissioner (Admn), Chennai); and deputy SP (Thoothukudi) Lingathirumaran, and three inspectors, two sub-Inspectors, one head constable and seven constables.