NHRC's team to investigate Tuticorin protesters’ killings

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: May 30, 2018
On Tuesday, May 29, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) decided to send its own team of officers to Tamil Nadu on a fact-finding investigation into the police firing that took place on Tuesday, May 22, that killed more than 11 protesters. Over 20,000 people were demonstrating against the ground water pollution caused by the Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) district. 

Sterlite

The NHRC asked its Director General (Investigation) to depute a team led by an officer not below the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police and including three other officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and Inspectors from its Investigation Division. The team planned to leave immediately, and make inquiries with all parties involved, including the victim’s families, as well as independent witnesses among others it considered appropriate. The team will submit a report to the NHRC within two weeks. 

This development came after the representation made by Mr. A Rajarajan under W.P. (C) 5779/2018 in the Delhi High Court, and court’s order passed on Friday, May 25, inter alia directing as follows: 

According to the petitioner, the respondent/NHRC should consider the representation made by the petitioner and trigger an independent inquiry based on the provisions of Sections 14 & 17 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (in short 'Act'). Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and, given the fact that the respondent/NHRC has called for reports, at this stage, the Court is inclined, only, to give liberty to the petitioner to appear before the respondent/NHRC for obtaining suitable directions. Accordingly, the aforementioned representation filed by the petitioner will be placed before the respondent/ NHRC on the 29th May, 2018, for appropriate directions. It is made clear that nothing stated hereinabove will impact the merits of the case. 

The NHRC observed that its immediate action in this matter was independent of directions that the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of the Government of Tamil Nadu had already given to it. Its notices were issued after taking suo motu cognisance of the incident based on media reports on Wednesday, May 23.