Twist to Thoothukudi tale

By Balasubramani Muniyandi Published on Jun 30, 2018 04:44 PM IST

Chennai: In a major turn of events, fishermen from Therespuram in Thoothukudi have said the violence on the 100th day of anti-Sterlite protest, in which 13 persons were killed in police firing, was instigated by two advocates who are members of Makkal Adhikaram outfit.

The fishermen have said Vaanchinaathan and Hari Ragavan were the main reason and they brainwashed people who were silently protesting for 99 days.

A petition to aid fishermen who are 'falsely arrested' in connection with the Thoothukudi violence was submitted to the District Legal Services Authority yesterday.

Around 200 fishermen belonging to the Country Craft Fishermen Association led by Robert, submitted the petition to DLSA Sub-Judge R Samuel Benjamin.

In the plea, the fishermen said the public meeting organised on 24 March demanding the permanent closure of Sterlite Copper went off peacefully and a good number of fishermen participated in it.

'While the fishermen decided to participate in the anti-Sterlite demonstration organised at SAV School Grounds near Old Bus Stand on 22 May following talks held with police officials on 20 May, the advocates started a 'negative campaign' on social media and 'incited' the fishermen to participate in the march towards the Collectorate,' the petition stated.  

Vijay Kumar, a fishermen said, the advocates were working with the protesting groups helped in getting permission for holding the meeting on 24 March.

"However, after that they started meeting villagers in person, announced their own protests and led them from front. Infact it was their idea to call for the Grama Panchayat Sabha and pass a resolution to close the Sterlite industry. It was them who suggested the idea of siege of Collector office.  They even raised slogans asking youngsters to be prepared to face the assault from police," he said.

Speaking to News Today, Makkal AdhiKaram State organiser Raju said Vanchinathan and Hari Ragaavan were not members of their outfit but belonged to the group called Makkal Urimai Paadhukaapu Maiam.

"The duo were the legal advisors for the anti-Sterlite people group that initiated the protest," he said.

He further said Makkal Adhikaram was one of the many outfits that took part in the protest.

Even members of many political parties took part in the protests for the cause of the people. There is no evidence of members of Makkal Adhikaram instigating violence during the protest. Two men from outside Thoothukudi cannot go and start a protest there," he said.

ALLEGATIONS APLENTY

Around 200 fishermen belonging to the Country Craft Fishermen Association submitted a petition to DLSA Sub-Judge R Samuel Benjamin.

In the plea, the fishermen said the public meeting organised on 24 March demanding the permanent closure of Sterlite Copper went off peacefully and a good number of fishermen participated in it.

'However, two advocates started a 'negative campaign' on social media and 'incited' the fishermen to participate in the march towards the Collectorate'.

'It was the advocates who suggested the idea of siege of Collector office.  They even raised slogans asking youngsters to be prepared to face the assault from police'