• Police Raj and Human Rights Violations in Tamil Nadu

    S P Udaykumar

    June 11, 2018

    There are rumours now that the state police have prepared a list of several movement leaders, political personalities and frontline activists to be detained over the next few weeks and months. The people’s right to assemble, right to oppose a dangerous project that spoils the local land, water, air and the health of the people and their right to protest peacefully are all being systematically violated by the authorities.
     

    T Velamurugan/ Image courtesy: Sabrangindia


     
    Several political leaders and frontline activists of people’s movements and political parties are being arrested, incarcerated and persecuted in Tamil Nadu by the state police. It is widely suspected that the central government in Delhi is guiding the Tamil Nadu government and police in these operations.

    On May 25, 2018, T. Velmurugan, the founding president of the Tamizhaka Vaazhvurimai Katchi (Tamil Nadu’s ‘Right to Life’ Party), was arrested at the Thoothukudi airport on his way to meet and console the families of the massacre victims in the anti-Sterlite protest. All different leaders had been visiting the city on a regular basis to do just that and Velmurugan intended to do the same. After all, he has served as an MLA twice in the past and is a known figure in Tamil politics.
     
    “On May 26, Velmurugan visited the violence-hit Thoothukudi district. He was arrested by the Neyveli police at Thoothukudi airport and remanded to judicial custody at Puzhal prison. Velmurugan was vociferous against the Centre and state on issues like Cauvery water management and permanent job for localities in Neyveli Lignite Corporation. His outfit also took part in the anti-Sterlite protests,” reported Deccan Chronicle on May 31.
     
    “The Neyveli Thermal Police have booked a case under Sections 124 A (whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visual representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring in contempt or hatred), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth) and 505 (II) (b) – with intent to cause or which is likely to cause fear or alarm to the public. A warrant has been issued,” reported The Hindu.
     
    “Mr. Velmurugan is presently undergoing treatment at the Government Stanley Hospital in Chennai where he was admitted for health complications developed during his recent imprisonment at the Puzhal Central Prison,” the report added.

    He and nine others were kept overnight in a dilapidated hall without food, water or toilet facilities. The hall was locked on the front and at the back and no one (including lawyers, doctors, journalists or friends) was allowed to see Velmurugan and the other detainees. The police were lathi charging those who approached the hall. The arrested were taken to the Chennai central prison in northern Tamil Nadu without even a chance to take a break or to urinate on the way. All this amounts to gross human rights violations.
     
    Various political parties such as the MDMK, the DMK, the VCK, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, the TNCC, the CPI and the CPM came together to protest against the arrest of Tamilaga Valvurimai Katchi leader T. Velmurugan before the Chennai Collectorate on Tuesday.

    Earlier, two youngsters Idumbavanam Karthi and Kadal Deepan, both Naam Tamizhar Katchi (We Tamils Party) workers, were arrested under various charges and incarcerated in the central prison in Chennai. Similarly, Viennarasu, the state coordinator of the Naam Tamizhar Katchi (We Tamils Party,) was also arrested under a false charge that he had instigated arson in the May 22nd Thoothukudi protest and imprisoned.

    K. M. Shariff, the president of Tamizhaga Makkal Jananaayaka Katchi (Tamil People’s Democratic Party) was arrested along with his friends on June 5 when he tried to blockade actor Rajnikanth’s house in Chennai. Usually, the police would arrest such protestors and let them go in the evening but this time they remanded Shariff and his comrades and sent them to prison.

    Two other leading activists, Thirumurugan Gandhi of May 17 Movement and Dyson of Tamizhaga Vidiyal Katchi (Tamil Nadu Dawn Party), had been arrested a few months back under the goondas act and they came out on bail.

    There are rumours now that the state police have prepared a list of several movement leaders, political personalities and frontline activists to be detained over the next few weeks and months. The people’s right to assemble, right to oppose a dangerous project that spoils the local land, water, air and the health of the people and their right to protest peacefully are all being systematically violated by the authorities.

    In the light of the above situation, the Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi demanded that all of the above leaders and workers be released immediately and unconditionally. All the false and concocted charges against them must be dropped. The fundamental human rights and entitlements of the people of Tamil Nadu must be respected and protected.


    Written and forwarded in most part by S P Udaykumar, Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi (Green Tamil Nadu Party.)

     

    S P Udaykumar is part of Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi (Green Tamil Nadu Party).

    First Published in Sabrang India.

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