Reports of illegal detention hit Thoothukudi

People said they were still scared to get out of their homes due to heavy police presence and appealed to the district administration to withdraw men in khaki from residential areas. PTI file photo

The city might have returned to normalcy after being completely shut since Tuesday, but rights activists and locals allege that police have taken hundreds of youngsters into custody and have shared no information about them with their families.

People said they were still scared to get out of their homes due to heavy police presence and appealed to the district administration to withdraw men in khaki from residential areas.

The city also seems angry with the ruling AIADMK as none of its leaders, including Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Pannerselvam, have visited Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) even six days after the anti-Sterlite protests turned violent on Tuesday.

13 lives were lost in police firing and more than 100 are still in hospitals receiving treatment for the wounds received during the police action. Henri Tiphange of People’s Watch (programme unit of the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns) told DH that post-May 22 events are much more worrying than the killing of innocent civilians by police.

“No action has been taken against anyone with the Collector and SP being merely transferred and not suspended. So many innocent civilians have been taken into illegal custody and the city is under the siege of men in khaki headed with the presence of one ADGP, four IGs, two DIGs and 15 SPs. When such is the situation, what normalcy has been stored?” Tiphange asked.

As the injured still lay in hospitals, the Thoothukudi Bar Association has set up a legal aid desk at the institution to help the injured seek legal remedy. The association has announced that lawyers will not charge money from anti-Sterlite protest victims for the filing of cases.

G Sundararajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, which has been fighting against Kudankulam nuclear plant and Neutrino project in Theni, said he has been receiving lot of reports about illegal detention of people in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin). “Many people have been calling me from Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) to say that their loved ones have been illegally detained and kept in custody,” he said.

However, Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) District SP Murali Ramba dismissed the allegations saying there have been no illegal detentions. “The number of people taken into custody and remanded stand at 145. It is all lie,” he said.

There is also anger on the streets of Thoothukudi that neither Palaniswami nor Pannerselvam flew down to this port city to promise that Sterlite Copper will be shut down permanently.

“We have a chief minister who says he did not come to Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) due to the imposition of Sec 144. He does not realise that he may be permanently debarred from entering the area. The principle of command and responsibility demands that DGP should be suspended. But nothing has happened on the ground,” Tiphange added.

 

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Reports of illegal detention hit Thoothukudi

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