Panchayat president accuses police of blowing up the issue out of proportion

: The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday directed the Madurai Collector to identify all those who were injured in the violence leading to police firing in Villoor panchayat under Tirumangalam taluk on May 1 and provide necessary medical assistance.

Justice M. Duraiswamy passed the interim direction after suo motu including the Collector as one of the respondents to a writ petition filed by the panchayat president to appoint an enquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge to probe into the incidents that led to police firing.

The petitioner S. Subbulakshmi (45) had only included the Home Secretary, Director General of Police and the other police officials as respondents to the case.

She had also impleaded Superintendent of Police Asra Garg and Deputy Superintendent of Police Anwarsha in their personal capacity.

Reacting to a plea made by her counsel to restrain the police from making indiscriminate arrests thereby preventing the villagers, who had taken refuge elsewhere, from entering the village, the judge orally asked the Additional Government Pleader to instruct the officers not to prevent anyone from entering the village.

The judge also directed the AGP to take notice on behalf of the official respondents and file their counter affidavits during the next summer vacation court sitting on May 19.

Decision after affidavits

He said that a decision on other pleas made by the petitioner could be taken only after the counter affidavits were filed.

In her affidavit, the panchayat president alleged that the police had blown up a petty issue relating to a case of rash and negligent riding of the motorcycle by a Dalit youth under the influence of alcohol on April 30 into a case of long pending animosity between the Caste Hindus and Dalits in the village.

She wanted the court to pass an order for withdrawal of all police personnel from the village which she claimed to have been virtually turned into a fortress by curbing the movement of even essential commodities such as milk and newspapers.

The male members of Caste Hindu families had taken refuge in other places apprehending arrest and their families have been left in a lurch.

No drinking water

Even drinking water was not available and the cattle too were suffering without fodder, she claimed.