The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court (HC) constituted by Justices C. T. Selvam and A. M. Basheer Ahamad, directed the State of Tamil Nadu to produce all documented evidence including reports and videos connected to the Anti-Sterlite protests that took place before the Thoothukudi riots.
The Thoothukudi riots took place on the 100th day of otherwise peaceful protests. The HC ordered the State to submit all evidence including Intelligence reports of the Thoothukudi Police by July 18.
The order will help the HC to probe into the Thoothukudi riots wherein the police firing took 13 lives between May 22 and 23. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate A. W. D. Tilak sought to receive a copy of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that was slapped of various parts of the city, while the anti-Sterlite protests were ongoing.
According to Advocate Henri Tiphagne representing the petitioner, the order was restricted only to Sipcot and Thoothukudi South. He further informed that the collector was not present when the police started firing. Also, the minutes of the peace committee meeting was never published. The protesters fighting peacefully against Sterlite Copper were also not invited for the meeting.
People were detained, juveniles were targeted and multiple cases were filed against individuals. The Police illegally detained protesters at Vallanadu firing point. Thoothukudi residents were restrained from mourning the deaths of their family and friends.
According to the Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian, policemen were also injured while controlling the mob.
The division bench also heard other PILs and habeas corpus petitions related to the riots. These petitions were filed seeking a restraint order on the authorities who are planning to invoke the National security Act, 1980.