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Today Date : Thursday, June 20, 2024

Thoothukudi firing: Inquiry commission report tabled

Thoothukudi firing: Inquiry commission report tabled

The inquiry commission headed by retired Judge Aruna Jagadeesan that probed the 2018 police firing on civilians protesting against industrial pollution in Thoothukudi district, has recommended the government to provide Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the family members of the deceased.

The commission has also recommended the government to take departmental action against the then Thoothukudi collector, three officials from revenue department and 17 officials from police department.
On the 100th day of protest by civilians against the industrial pollution in 2018, violence broke out and police officials had started firing.

 As many as 13 people were killed in the incident. Subsequently, the state government had formed a committee headed by Justice Aruna Jagadeesan to investigate the issue.Based on the inquiry, the state government has issued employment orders to the heirs of 17 people and the commission had recommended the government to provide compensation to the family members of the deceased.
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 has recommended the government to increase the compensation provided to the family members of the deceased to Rs 50 lakh and to the families of injured to Rs 10 lakh. The government also recommended the government to take necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future.