Thoothukudi firing: Aruna Jagadeesan panel finds fault with police

The commission also recommended Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the legal heirs or kins of the deceased in the Thoothukudi police firing, by deducting the amount of Rs 20 lakh already paid.
An officer targeting civilians during anti-Sterlite protests in 2018
An officer targeting civilians during anti-Sterlite protests in 2018PTI

CHENNAI: The Aruna Jagadeesan Commission constituted to inquire about police firing during the 2018 anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi, has squarely blamed the policemen saying that "there has been certainly excess on the part of the police officials.".

The findings of the Aruna Jagadeesan commission were tabled in the state Assembly, on Tuesday, in which it has been observed that "the police personnel under the orders of the higher officials has fired on the fleeing protesters, fleeing for their lives as borne out by the situs of the gunshot injuries."

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The report also observed that the protesters were unarmed and they indulged only in pelting stones at the policemen and no policemen sustained fatal injuries. The commission further observed that police did not either warn the protesters about firing or using non-lethal weapons including bursting teargas shells and splashing water with vehicles.

The report has further recommended action against 17 policemen involved in the firing, including Shailesh Kumar Yadav, then South Zone IG, Kapil Kumar Saratkar, then Tirunelveli DIG and P Mahendran, then Thoothukudi SP.

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"This commission suggests that action be taken against the aforesaid police officers for their acts of commission and omission departmentally without prejudice to launching criminal action," the report said.

The commission also finds faults with then Thoothukudi district collector N Venkatesh for "his style of functioning reminiscent of abdication of his responsibility" and recommends departmental action against him. The commission also suggests departmental action against three Deputy Tahsildars Sekar, Chandran and Kannan for not adhering to their jurisdiction at the time of protests.

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The commission also recommended Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the legal heirs or kins of the deceased in the Thoothukudi police firing, by deducting the amount of Rs 20 lakh already paid.

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