TN firing toll 7; judicial probe ordered

TN firing toll 7; judicial probe ordered

Tension gripped several southern districts in the wake of police firing on Dalit leader John Pandiyan’s supporters on Sunday, after they attacked the uniformed men and went berserk.

Prohibitory orders have been enforced  in Ramnathapuram district. The toll in the firing and related incidents went up to seven on Monday. Replying to a short-notice debate in the assembly on the matter,  Jayalalitha said Pandiyan was detained as he sought to defy the district collector’s order prohibiting him from entering Ramanathapuram district after the earlier killing of the school boy, Palanikumar, had caused tension in the district, a day ahead of the death anniversary of Emmanuel Sekaran.

Explaining the police action on Sunday, she said the cops were not just at the receiving end of stone-pelting by 500-strong crowd at Paramakudi. The latter started indulging in large-scale violence and arson, defying police plea to disperse. And when the mob started hurling ‘petrol bombs’, the police opened fire in self-defense and to protect public property, she said, adding, prohibitory orders continued to be in force in the entire district.

Discounting claims that there was no caste undercurrents to the incident, Jayalalitha said the student’s murder was a sequel to some abusive graffiti written in a village wall against late Nationalist leader Pasumponn Muthuramalinga Thevar. The other incidents seemed to follow “like a chain reaction,” she said and urged all sections to maintain calm. She also detailed the compensation given to the victims’ families including the school boy.
Nearly 60 police personnel including a DIG, SP and Paramakudi town DSP were badly injured in the stone-pelting and rioting by the protestors demanding Johan Pandiyan’s release.

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