Human Rights Organisation People’s Watch has urged the State government to reopen and conduct an inquiry into all ‘encounter’ killing cases involving Additional Superintendent of Police S. Vellaidurai.
At a press meet held here on Monday, Executive Director of People’s Watch Henri Tiphagne welcomed the order of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) that recommended compensation to the family members of history-sheeters Murugan alias Kal Mandayan and Kaviarasan who were shot dead in an ‘encounter’ in Madurai in 2010 by a team of police personnel, led by the then Assistant Commissioner of Police Vellaidurai.
The SHRC recommended to the Home Department to pay compensation of ₹3 lakh each to Guruvammal, mother of Murugan, and Seethalakshmi, mother of Kaviarasan. It also recommended that after the payment of compensation, the Home Department could recover ₹3 lakh from Mr. Vellaidurai and ₹1.5 lakh each from police officials Thennarasu and Ganesan, who were part of the team involved in the ‘encounter’.
The SHRC observed that the then Assistant Commissioner had admitted that he had committed four ‘encounters’. It was not known why most notorious criminals were being shot dead. The acknowledgment of having committed encounters before, where the criminals had died, should not be a matter of pride.
Stating that the deceased were notorious criminals would not absolve the police of their liability, it said no law-enforcing officer could pass a ‘death sentence’ which was the prerogative of the judiciary. It was the duty of the police to bring them before the criminal jurisprudence system and get appropriate punishment.
The SHRC noted that the two history-sheeters were only property offenders and not persons who had indulged in violent crimes. Taking note of the post-mortem report that showed there was an entry and exit wound of the bullet, the SHRC observed that this indicated that the bullet was fired at point blank range and the police had the aim of only killing the history-sheeters, which was wholly unacceptable.
Guruvammal, mother of Murugan, along with the advocates who had represented her before the SHRC, was present at the press meet.