Tamil Nadu

Retired judge to probe police firing

Policemen take away an injured person from the scene of violence in Paramakudi on Sunday. Police held negotiations with the agitators, asking them to give up the road roko protest. Even as the negotiations were on, some miscreants threw stones and footwear, following which the police resorted to lathicharge and bursting teargas shells. Photo: L. Balachandar

Policemen take away an injured person from the scene of violence in Paramakudi on Sunday. Police held negotiations with the agitators, asking them to give up the road roko protest. Even as the negotiations were on, some miscreants threw stones and footwear, following which the police resorted to lathicharge and bursting teargas shells. Photo: L. Balachandar  

A retired High Court judge would inquire into the police firing on Sunday at Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram in which six persons were killed, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa informed the Assembly on Monday.

She said the incident was the culmination of a chain of events that began with miscreants writing derogatory remarks against Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar on a wall and the subsequent murder of Palanikumar, a school boy.

Though initially an inquiry by a district revenue officer (DRO) was ordered, Ms Jayalalithaa agreed to set up an inquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge following requests from the Opposition parties.

CPI(M) deputy leader K. Balabharathi pressed for a judicial inquiry saying the DRO being subordinate to the Collector and the Superintendent of Police would not be in a position to conduct a probe.

The Chief Minister ruled out the possibility of a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court, explaining the court would not spare a sitting Judge to probe such incidents.

Ms Jayalalithaa said though the AIADMK government in the past had constituted peace committees wherever the situation was volatile, the practice was not continued during the DMK regime. These peace committees would be revived, she added.

She said five persons had already been arrested in connection with the murder of Palanikumar on September 9, and she had directed the police to take stringent action to bring them to book.

On September 11, leaders of political parties paid homage to Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran at his memorial on his 54th death anniversary in Paramakudi, but there was a ban on the entry of Tamil Nadu Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader John Pandian because of the tense situation prevailing there.

When Mr. Pandian proceeded towards Paramakudi, he was taken into preventive custody at Vallanadu in Tuticorin and around 500 followers staged a road roko in Paramakudi. They did not pay heed to the police advice and threw stones at them. When the police fired tear gas to disperse them, they set the police vehicle ‘Vajra' and a fire service vehicle on fire. The rioters also indulged in large-scale violence by throwing petrol bombs and stones at the police. She said the police resorted to firing in self-defence and to protect public property. “Unfortunately six persons were killed in the firing and Ramanathapuram range DIG Sandeep Mittal, Paramakudi Town SP Ganesan and sub-inspector Athisayaraj were injured in the incident,” she said. In Madurai too, supporters of Mr. Pandian disrupted traffic near Chinthamani junction and pelted the police with stones. When they attacked a Sub-Inspector, he opened fire in self defence and two persons were injured.

Puthiya Tamizhagam leader K. Krishnasamy, however, walked out after Speaker D. Jayakumar denied him permission to raise the issue.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:47:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/retired-judge-to-probe-police-firing/article2446595.ece

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