Anti-Sterlite violence: Green activist who accused cops of conniving with Sterlite Copper, goes missing 

On February 15, T Mugilan in a press meet said that two top police officials were present at the Thoothukudi Collector office much before the anti-Sterlite protesters could reach the complex.

Published: 18th February 2019 07:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2019 11:47 PM   |  A+A-

Thoothukudi Sterlite protest, EPS, 22 May 2018

In this 22 May 2018 photo, a police personnel shoots at the protesters protesting against the copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Environmental activist T Mugilan has reportedly been missing since Friday, with his colleagues and friends stating that he disappeared hours after releasing a video documentary alleging that IG- and DIG-rank police officials orchestrated the police firing against anti-Sterlite protesters at Thoothukudi last May in collusion with the Sterlite Copper management. Thirteen people were killed in the firing. 

According to Mani, the coordinator of Tamil Nadu Students and Youth Federation, Mugilan was last seen by his friends around 10.30 pm at Egmore railway station in Chennai on February 15. “He was accompanied by activist V P Ponnarasan and others when he reached Egmore station to board a train to Madurai. Since then, his whereabouts are unknown,” said Mani in a complaint to Chennai Police on Sunday.

Activist Ponnarasan told Express that Mugilan was expected to board the Mahal Express, which was scheduled to depart at 10.50 pm. “He accompanied me till Mangaluru Express that was scheduled to leave at 10.15 pm. Later, he boarded the unreserved compartment of Mahal Express,” said Ponnarasan.

READ HERE | Sterlite issue: SC order setting aside NGT verdict welcomed by Thoothukudi residents

He said that after he reached Karur around 7.10 am the next day, he tried to call Mugilan's phone, but the mobile was switched off. Immediately he alerted the local activists. Mani's complaint was transferred to the Government Railway Police which registered a case and began an inquiry.

Rohit Nathan Rajagopal, Superintendent of Police, GRP Chennai told Express that Mugilan's mobile phone was active till 1.30 am on Saturday. “We are retrieving data through CDR (call data record) analysis. We are yet to ascertain his last location, from where he went missing. The Egmore station has multiple entry points, CCTV footage from all entry gates are being scrutinised,” he added.

ALSO READ | Police firing in Tamil Nadu's Sterlite copper plant protest: Scars still remain in Thoothukudi

A habeas corpus plea (HCP) also was made by Madurai-based advocate and social activist Henri Tiphagne in the Madras High Court for seeking production of Mugilan in the court and to set him at liberty. A division bench comprising of Justices M Satyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar, directed the Additional Public Prosecutor to get instructions and posted the matter for further hearing on February 22.

The petitioner said that Mugilan, after thorough research on the case, had held a press meet in Chennai on February 15 on the police firing in Thoothukudi on May 22, 2018. At the press meet, he had levelled serious allegations against certain top police officials. Later, he had also expressed apprehension to his associate Sridhar that the police might take custody of him because of the charges he had made. The petitioner had then sent an online complaint to the Greater Chennai Police Commissioner on February 17.

READ HERE | ‘Thoothukudi copper plant closure won’t affect Vedanta’s cash flows’

Mugilan's colleagues noted that in his press meet on Friday, he had said that two top police officials were present at the Thoothukudi Collector office much before the anti-Sterlite protesters could reach the complex. They reiterated that Mugilan feared his life was under threat.

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