Commission begins inquiry into Thoothukudi firing

Commission begins inquiry into Thoothukudi firing

Inquiry panel asks media houses to submit videos police firing during the anti-sterlite protests in Tuticorin. PTI file photo

Retired Madras High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan on Monday asked media houses, journalists and individuals, to share video clippings of the May 22 anti-Sterlite protests as she began her probe into the events leading up to police firing in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).

In the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami asserted that the now-closed Sterlite Copper's smelter unit cannot be reopened by anyone, even as he defended the police action saying they resorted to firing only after “anti-social elements” infiltrated the protests and pelted stones at the men in khaki.

He was responding to questions from Opposition Leader M K Stalin on the Sterlite issue.

Stalin raised doubts whether the government order, which he claimed was weak, can be challenged by the company in courts.

Jagadeesan, who was appointed by the state government a day after the police firing killed 13 people, also appealed to the public to submit relevant information before the panel by June 22.

“Arrangements have been made in such a way to ensure secrecy and protection to those who come out (with details),” she said, adding that she will begin “spot visits” to the areas affected by the violence from Tuesday.

“Inquiry will be held in three stages. One of those affected/injured, relatives of those killed in the incident. The consultation will be held with those who witnessed the incident, citizens groups, or those who are privy to the details and journalists. The third stage would be with the police, those who allegedly initiated the firing, revenue officials, doctors who conducted post-mortems and treated the injured, senior officials in police, former district collector and other officials,” she said.

Jagadeesan also visited the injured at the government hospital in Thoothukudi and spoke to the victims.