Anti-Sterlite protesters seek new GO for action against indicted cops

Anti-Sterlite protesters have urged the TN government to initiate criminal action against the police personnel indicted in the report filed by the Aruna Jegadeesan committee, which probed the May 2018 police firing.

Several members of the ‘Orunginaintha Sterlite Etirppu Kootamaippu’ have appealed to the state government to ensure criminal action against the police personnel, who opened fire at people while marching in a crowd towards Thoothukudi Collectorate on May 22 in 2018 during the anti-Sterlite rally, and officials who ordered the firing.

The petition was submitted by Anti-Sterlite Coordination committee members with Collector Dr K Senthil Raj on Monday. It demanded the withdrawal of the GO dated October 17, which ordered only departmental action against the policemen responsible for gunning down 13 protesters. It also urged the government to enact a special Act against the copper smelter plant, as CM MK Stalin had promised to do during election campaigns in 2021.

“Though the CM vowed to take the guilty to court, the GO passed by the government categorically insisted on just initiating departmental action against the murderers, thus sparing them of criminal prosecution,” the petition read.

Speaking to media persons, advocate Hari Ragavan appealed to the CM to convene another cabinet meeting to issue a new GO replacing the October-17 order, for taking criminal action against the policemen, and enact a special Act against the copper smelter.

“The GO passed nearly two months ago was in complete contrast to the speeches Stalin delivered when he was the opposition leader. “Meanwhile, the CBI did not even name any of the guilty policemen in its chargesheet. In this situation, how can we expect the victims to receive justice?” he asked.

The ongoing government did several things such as additional compensation to families of the victims, permanent jobs based on educational qualifications and cases against protestors withdrawn and all these were positive.

Citing these, the members appealed to the government to enact a Special Act to permanently dismantle Sterlite company and ensure action against the police personnel and the officials behind the violence. However, police force led by Superintendent of Police L Balaji Saravanan was deployed adequately on the precincts of Thoothukudi Collectorate to prevent any untoward incident, sources said.

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