Sudalaikannu killed seven anti-Sterlite protesters, says report

The panel has documented list of shooters who shot 13 protesters and out of the 13, Sudalaikannu killed seven.
An officer targeting civilians during anti-Sterlite protests in 2018
An officer targeting civilians during anti-Sterlite protests in 2018

CHENNAI: The Aruna Jagadeesan commission, in its report, has found that then Tirunelveli Armed Reserve (AR) constable Sudalaikannu was the prime shooter in the anti-sterlite stir as he killed seven protesters. “The ace/prime shooter (Sudalaikannu) conducted himself in the different episodes of firing in Thoothukudi on May 22, 2018. He approached the guard in-charge of the weapons in the (Thoothukudi) Collectorate at the time of the first shooting inside the Collectorate as also in the shooting outside purportedly on the instructions of then IG (South Zone). He got 10 rounds with.303 rifle and exhausted each one of the rounds resulting in the death of four protesters besides causing gunshot injuries to others,” the report observed. The panel has documented list of shooters who shot 13 protesters and out of the 13, Sudalaikannu killed seven. He was with then Tirunelveli DIG Kapil Kumar C Saratkar while killing the first four protesters and then was with then Thoothukudi SP Mahendran while killing the rest three.

Sudalaikannu also changed guns while firing: Panel

Sudalaikannu had also shifted his guns while shifting the officials and location of firing. Initially, he had used a 0.303 bolt-action rifle when he was with the DIG and shifted to Self Loading Rifle (SLR) when he was with the SP.

Inside the Collectorate, he shot and killed Ranjith Kumar (22) and Snowlin (18) and outside the Collectorate, he killed Manirajan (34) and Glaston (40). Then, Sudalaikannu joined the bandwagon of Mahendran and shot Shanmugam (40) and Antony Selvaraj (46) in Third Mile in Thoothukudi.

The ‘Ace’ shooter then traveled with Mahendran to Threspuram, a fishermen hamlet in Thoothukudi and shot Jansi Rani (40). Sudalaikannu had used 30 rounds in total, 10 rounds of 0.303 rifle and 20 rounds of SLR to kill seven protesters apart from gunshot injuries to few others.

The report also observed that there were irregularities in the armoury register for excess use of bullets as “there had been meddling with the entries made therein. Entries have been erased and there was over writing. The requisite legal proceedings, including disciplinary action deserve to be initiated against police constable Sudalaikannu for his acts of omission and commission,” the report opined.

Apart from Sudalaikannu, the report has documented the details of every policemen involved in firing such as police constable Raja (whose photo went viral as he shot from top of a vehicle), DIG’s Gunman Shankar, SI Rennes, SI Sornamani, constable Thandavamurthy, constable Sathish Kumar and constable Mathivanan.

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