Thoothukudi Protest Firing: "Action against 17 officials." Justice Commission Orders

(This article is authored by Alar)

A new development regarding the officials' firing during the anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi in 2018 has been made as a result of the Justice Aruna Jagadeesan Commission's decision to convict the police officers who killed 13 protesters and injured 100 others. The state government is able to take appropriate legal action against the offenders as per commission's order.

Former Madras High Court judge Aruna Jagadeesan has criticised senior police officers and the District Collector for their lack of coordination and overuse of lethal force during the rally held to commemorate the 100th day of the protest. She has pleaded with the government to prosecute the offenders and take departmental action. According to Aruna Jagadeesan, "There is no material on record to show that it was only to deal with a militant crowd of protesters that the opening of fire was resorted to". Additionally, she claimed that the firing was "unprovoked.".

In its report, the Commission made recommendations regarding 17 officials, including the former Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Shailesh Kumar Yadav (now ADGP, Police Welfare); Deputy Inspector General of Police (Tirunelveli Range) Kapil Kumar C. Saratkar (now an Additional Commissioner of Police, Chennai city); Superintendent of Police (Thoothukudi) P. Mahendran (now Deputy Commissioner (Admn), Chennai); and Deputy SP (Thoothukudi) Lingathirumaran, and three Inspectors, two Sub-Inspectors, one head constable and seven constables. On the day of event, May 22-23, 2018, the police were reported that based on orders issued by three deputy tasildars, which ended with the killing of 12 people on May 22 and another one on May 23.