HC directs govt to submit video evidence on Tuticorin violence

Chennai: The Madras High Court today asked the Tamil Nadu government to furnish video in its possession allegedly showing some anti-Sterlite protesters with petrol bombs during the stir in May as it observed a CBI probe into the incident will instill confidence in the minds of people.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha gave the directive during the hearing of petitions seeking a CBI probe into the May 22-23 police firing in Tuticorin that left 13 people dead after the protest demanding closure of Sterlite's copper unit turned violent.

It was responding after state Advocate General Vijay Narayan submitted that the government was in possession of video in which it can be seen that some protestors were carrying petrol bombs.

Directing the government to produce the video in the court, the bench said if the allegations were true, such persons cannot be allowed to get away. "Moreover it would be wrong to say that the police cannot act in self defence."

The court then adjourned the matter to June 30. Earlier, the Chief Justice said she was unable to understand why the state government was opposing a CBI probe.

"We are not saying that the probe by state police is biased or shabby...Even in the gutkha scam, we did not order CBI probe based on the allegations of involvement of a minister and the DGP, we did so only to instil confidence of the people about the fairness of the probe," she said.

Similarly, in the present case, when the state police were involved, a probe by an independent agency would instill confidence in the minds of people, Justice Banerjee said. She also rejected claim by the counsels for the petitioners that the police firing was a one-sided attack. The Chief Justice said though she seldom watches TV, she happened to watch the news about the firing on that day (May 22).

"From what was telecast, I am sure it was not onesided but a two-sided attack. A section of protestors could be seen attacking police vehicles and setting them on fire," she added. In a previous hearing of the petitions, Justice Banerjee had orally observed why the state cannot handover the probe into the firing to the CBI and said it was a fit case for a probe by the central agency.


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