The police firing incident at Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district that led to the death of six Dalits on September 11 was the result of violent behaviour of an unruly mob, which burnt down 10 government vehicles, damaged 13 more, assaulted 104 police personnel and attacked several houses and shops, according to P. Rajesh Das (48), Inspector General of Police (South Zone).
Filing a counter affidavit to a public interest litigation petition by Thol Thirumavalavan, president of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Member of Parliament, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident, Mr. Das stated that hundreds of innocent persons would have lost their lives if the police had not opened fire.
Pointing out that it was not the police but the Executive Magistrate who ordered the firing, the IG said there was no other option as all other methods — conciliatory talks, warnings, air shots, lathi charge, tear gas and air block buck shots — had failed to disburse the mob.
Stating that Mr. Thirumavalavan was always fighting for good causes of Dalits, the IG said that the present case alone was “filed with lot of incorrect and suppressed facts”. The averments in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition were in the nature of aggravating everlasting communal rivalry between Thevars and Dalits. It is not intended to bring about communal harmony between them.”
“Unfortunately, the writ petitioner has given the go-by to all settled principles of law to be followed in the matter of filing a public interest litigation petition and has chosen to file the present writ petition as a member of his community forgetting that he is a lawyer, a leader of a popular political party and an MP. As an advocate and MP he has to play a neutral role.”
Denying the allegation that he and K.A. Senthilvelan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Chennai, who was deputed to Paramakudi on September 11, were acting against the interest of Dalits, the IG said that they had served in sensitive areas in southern districts for several years, faced the worst of caste clashes and handled them with care and caution.
“The averments put forth by the writ petitioner in his affidavit are not only one sided and politically motivated but also suffer from suppression of material facts… The petitioner can place all his grievances before the commission (constituted by the State Government under the chairmanship of retired Madras High Court judge K. Sampath) and even suggest for remedial measures to curb the caste clashes taking place in southern districts as a strong and principle oriented leader of a political party.