CHENNAI: Nearly 2,000 witnesses of the ‘jallikattu agitation’, that took place on January 23, have submitted affidavits of their account of the incident to Justice S Rajeswaran commission of inquiry.
The commission that was set up earlier this year to probe the cause of law and order disruption during the protests has received 1,949 written statements from both public and police.
“We have already started inquiry of witnesses in Chennai. We have inquired 120 people out of the 886 in the city that have submitted their accounts through an affidavit,” said Justice S Rajeswaran. Among the 886 affidavits, 516 were from public who blamed the police for starting the clashes, 349 from police who said that public caused violence, 15 from public who supported the police’s claim and six more from fire fighters and others. Rajeswaran said only public have been summoned by the commission so far while police officers will be summoned eventually. “Most of the witnesses who appeared so far were women and they came from Nadukuppam, Matan Kuppam and Lutherpuram, which was the seat of the unrest,” he said.
Inquiry of witnesses from other districts is yet to begin and the commission has sent a formal request to government seeking extension of the inquiry period. The inquiry period that was supposed to end by July 31, may continue for another three months, Rajeswaran said. “We are able to inquire a maximum of five witnesses a day, and we may require three or four months to complete the process across the State. The commission received 996 affidavits from Madurai and neighbouring districts where jallikattu is held every year, 50 from Coimbatore and rest from other districts.
An agitation that was started to preserve the bull-taming sport, turned into a law and order situation on January 23 leading to clashes. While some point fingers at the police for starting the clashes, police blame anti-social elements among protesting masses for triggering violence.