Petitioner seeks permission to organise a rally to highlight illegal garnet quarrying

The Madras High Court bench here on Tuesday directed the Tuticorin police to file a counter-affidavit to a petition filed by the Human Rights Protection Centre (HRPC), Tuticorin district, seeking permission to organise a rally and a public meeting at Tuticorin on October 12 to highlight illegal garnet quarrying in the coastal areas of Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin.

The petitioner, S.P. Ramachandiran, the Tuticorin district secretary of the HRPC, claimed in his petition that the district collector of Tuticorin had issued a statement on August 6, 2013 that several complaints were received on the irregularities committed by mineral quarrying companies.

Six advocates of the HRPC had visited the coastal hamlets in Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin districts from August 14 to August 18 this year to assess the loss to the State’s exchequer, the petitioner claimed. According to him, the fact-finding team had assessed a loss of at least Rs 2.5 lakh crore to the exchequer by the illegal garnet quarrying.

Mr. Ramachandiran claimed that he had submitted a petition to the deputy superintendent of police, Tuticorin city, and the inspector of police, Tuticorin central police station, on September 30 seeking permission to organise the rally and the public meeting at Anna Nagar on October 12. But the officials had denied permission for the rally and the public meeting citing law and order problems, he added.

In his petition, Mr. Ramachandiran claimed that the police had permitted the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam cadre to conduct a public meeting on September 22 on the same issue. Therefore, the HRPC should be permitted to organise the rally and the public meeting, he pleaded.

Justice T. Raja directed the police to submit a counter and adjourned the case to October 21.

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