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India: Inquest Report into Thoothukudi Police Violence - Press Release

16 July

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14 July, 2018. CHENNAI — Citing evidence pointing to violation of Standard Operating Procedures, a total breakdown of civilian authority and possible malafide intent and murder, a 23-member team of retired judges, senior bureaucrats and police officers, and social activists have called for a full administrative and criminal investigations into the 22 May 2018 Thoothukudi police firings and violence that resulted in the deaths of 14 people. Presenting the report Justice (Retd.) D. Hariparanthaman, who was part of the Inquest team, said police repression in Thoothukudi is continuing to this day, with the police intimidating van drivers and local people from coming to Chennai to participate in the release of the Inquest report. He appealed for a return to normalcy and an immediate end to the intimidation and arbitrary arrests of random people under “Open” FIRs filed against numerous unnamed people. “All deaths must be treated as murders at the FIR stage in line with prevalent law, and investigation must proceed on these lines until evidence points otherwise,” he said.

The report highlights the presence of sharp-shooters and snipers, the targeted killing of known anti-Sterlite protestors like Jancy of Theresepuram and the failure of the administration and police to resolve the matter despite the long notice of 100 days given by protestors. Coming down heavily on the district administration for being absent from the scene on 22 May, the Inquest report said the Administration ceded all civilian authority and power to the police contributing to the violence and deaths that occurred.

Former Chief Justice A.P. Shah who was to have released the report and spoken on “Democracy and Dissent” was taken ill and unable to travel. He has, however, conveyed his solidarity and urged the state administration to ensure an immediate end to the harassment of Thoothukudi residents by the police and the district administration.

On stage with Justice Hariparanthaman were AWD Thilak and Dr. X.D. Selvaraj, coordinators of the People’s Inquest Committee, Dr. Christodas Gandhi, IAS (Retd), T. Vellaiyan of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Merchants Associations, Prof. Shiv Visvanathan, Adv. Geeta Ramaseshan, Journalist Kavitha Muralidharan, Jasiah Joseph, T. Peter of National Fishworkers Forum, and social activist Tom Thomas.

For more information, contact:

Henri Tiphagne: 9894025859; Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401

Download report here