CHENNAI: A vacation bench of the Madras High Court has directed the State government to preserve the bodies of the 12 persons, who were shot dead by police in Thoothukudi during the Sterlite protest on May 22 and 23, until further orders.The bench of Justices T Ravindran and P Velmurugan gave the direction while admitting a PIL petition from advocates S Jimraj Milton and two others praying for a direction to the government to hold an enquiry by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Thoothukudi, into the ‘sniper shooting’ by civil-dressed police and direct the DGP to take appropriate action against the officials, including the Thoothukudi Collector and SP, who ordered shooting and order appropriate compensation to the families of the victims.
The interim prayers of the petitioners are to restrain the duo from acting in their official capacity and the police from preventing the advocates team to provide legal aid to the family members of the victims and to form fact-finding teams to go into the incident and order the release of all persons arrested throughout the State in connection with the agitations.Adding that postmortem of the bodies can go ahead, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 30. Meanwhile, the government is to file a status report.
Earlier, petitioners’ counsel R Sankara Subbu told the judges that the police, on the instructions of the Collector and the SP, had indulged in provoking activities against the thousands of peaceful participants. They had not followed the mandatory procedures before shooting. The visuals, telecast by the media and news channels, clearly demonstrated that the police resorted to firing, not in self-defence or to disburse the crowd. They wantonly resorted to indiscriminate firing.
The civil dressed police personnel stood on top of the police vehicles and shot at people like hunters hunting animals. The mandatory provision of shooting below the waist was not adhered to. Now the police personnel have ‘captured’ the government hospital and are dictating terms to the doctors to do the autopsy in a particular way. Even the relatives and advocates were not allowed to meet the victims and their family members, petitioner further alleged.
The visuals, telecast by the media and news channels, clearly demonstrated that the police resorted to firing, not in self-defence or to disburse the crowd. They wantonly resorted to indiscriminate firing. The civil dressed police personnel stood on top of the police vehicles and shot at people like hunters hunting animals, said petitioners’ counsel