THOOTHUKUDI: Another section of anti-Sterlite protesters from Madathur filed a petition at the District Legal Services Authority, distancing themselves from the outfit Makkal Athikaram and claiming that the members of the outfit were responsible for the violence. The residents also sought legal aid so as to protect themselves from police arrests.
This is the second attempt by a group of people who sought to distance themselves from Makkal Athikaram, an outfit that is believed to be the backbone of the protest against Sterlite Copper.
The Madathur residents headed by anti-Sterlite agitation leader Pon Pandi said in the petition that their protest started on April 4, 2018, was peaceful. They ensured there was no violence during their rally to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on April 23, they said. When the district administration called on the agitation leaders from their village on May 20, they even agreed to shift the protest venue to SAV Ground, their petition said.
However, the members of Makkal Athikaram convinced them to change their mind and to support them in laying siege to the Collectorate, the residents claimed. Advocates Hariraghavan and Thanga Pandian also took them to various fishing hamlets and other places to canvas among the public, asking them to participate only in laying siege to the Collectorate and to spread the information on social media, the petitioners said in the petition. The petition further said that it was Makkal Athikaram that led the people towards violence.