Locals refute CM’s claim of anti-socials’ intrusion

Rejecting the claims of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami that anti-social elements intruded the protests in Thoothukudi, locals, who were present on the spot on the day of police firing, said that there were no strangers, suspicious or anti-social elements among the protesters.
Locals refute CM’s claim of anti-socials’ intrusion

Thoothukudi

Speaking to DT Next, Santhosh Raj, a representative of students’ union from Pandarampatti village near Thoothukudi, said that he was one of the few who were leading the protests and that it was peaceful till they reached VVD signal where police resorted to a lathi charge on the marchers.
“Only then the protesters thought they had no option but retaliate.
Police were responsible for the violence and there were no anti-socials present. When a protest that was peaceful for 99 days turns violent on the 100th day, it was due to the police excess and people’s natural reaction against the excess,” Santhosh Raj said.
Santhosh had saved a police woman who was caught in the melee and took her to the collectorate to save her but another police personnel had hit him with a stone injuring the youth on his chest.
Another protester, Clinton from Trespuram, who had sustained a bullet injury, said that he saw police randomly shooting at people despite knowing that all those present were locals.
“People of Trespuram had no idea why cops opened fire and the police should owe an explanation. All those responsible for the firing should be punished too,” he said.
When the protesters decided to stage a huge protest on May 22 to commemorate the 100th day of anti-Sterlite agitation in Kumareddiyapuram village, the district administration responded by clamping Section 144 of the CrPC.
Despite the ban orders in place, the protesters tried to advance towards collectorate. They were caned and violence ensued.
Police responded by opening fire which claimed 13 lives. The incident sent shock waves in the state following which CM Palaniswami said that the violence was due to the intrusion of anti-social elements among the protestors and police opened fire only in self-defence.

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