Petitioner draws parallel with crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters

The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday sought to know the State government’s stand on a couple of public interest litigation petitions seeking a judicial probe into the pitched battle between the police and anti-nuclear agitators at Idinthakarai and Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district on September 10. Acceding to the request of Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian to grant time for filing a counter affidavit on behalf of the State, a Division Bench comprising Justice K. Suguna and Justice M. Vijayaraghavan adjourned hearing of the cases to Friday.

Earlier, during arguments, G. Prabhu Rajadurai, counsel for one of the petitioners S. Vanchinathan, drew a parallel between the violence in Kudankulam and the police excesses against yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his followers at Ram Lila grounds in New Delhi on the night of June 4 last year.

Pointing out that the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the incident reported in the newspapers and rendered a lengthy judgment on February 23 this year, the lawyer said: “What happened in Ram Lila is not even one per cent of what happened in Kudankulam.”

“I am not saying that the protesters were not at fault. But, to the least, let there be an impartial enquiry by a retired district judge or a High Court judge to find out who was at fault. The government cannot ignore this protest as it is being followed even internationally.

“The people are indulging in all forms of protest. They even embarked on a ‘Jal Satyagraha’ on the seawater. Then, a Coast Guard’s aircraft was made to fly very low leading to the death of a fisherman. Let the government explain why the plane flew so low terrorising the agitators.

“So far, thousands of sedition cases have been filed against the agitators. Even minor children are accused of waging a war against the State. If the government is going to use the Coast Guard, Navy and police against protesters, it will naturally create hatred among them,” he said.

Stating that the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act makes it mandatory to get the approval of local bodies to start any kind of industry in a village, the lawyer said that such a provision was incorporated to ascertain the will of the people before using their vicinity for purposes unknown to them.

“It only shows that the wish of the people must be ascertained before bringing in any industry, much less a nuclear power plant. It is the government’s duty to expel the fear among the people’s mind and it is everyone’s right to know what exactly happened on the day of violence,” Mr. Rajadurai added.