Madras HC asks TN for status report on alleged police excess in Chennai fishing hamlet

"Press reported unprecedented violence unleashed by police on innocent residents of Nadukuppam"
Madras HC asks TN for status report on alleged police excess in Chennai fishing hamlet
Madras HC asks TN for status report on alleged police excess in Chennai fishing hamlet
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Amidst allegations of police excess against the residents of Nadukuppam in Chennai, the Madras High Court demanded that the Government of Tamil Nadu file a status report on the reconstruction of the fishing hamlet. The Court, which was hearing a PIL filed by a High Court advocate, further directed the Government to study the need for a medical camp for the residents of Nadukuppam immediately.

The Nadukuppam fish market is located near the Vivekananda House, off the Marina. The hamlet had allegedly been vandalised by members of the police force for helping pro-jallikattu protesters. Several residents, following the crackdown on protesters at the Marina, claimed that men dressed in khakhi set fire to their stalls, burning the market to the ground. In addition to this, several innocent fishermen and their sons were reportedly subjected to brutal assault by the police. Following the increasing number of complaints from the residents, P Pugalenthi, an advocate filed a PIL in the High Court.

The First Bench of the Madras HC comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar while hearing the PIL said, "We would like to have a status report from the Government before considering the issuance of a Notice in the matter." The petitioner had explained to the court the circumstances under which the residents of Nadukuppam were 'beaten mercilessly'. 

"The ordinance (to lift the ban on jallikattu) dated January 21, 2017 was not published for the information of the public, it was published in the Gazette of Tamil Nadu," explains advocate Pugalendhi. "Therefore, the students started disbelieving Respondent no.1 - State of Tamil Nadu. Thousands of students, boys and girls who were protesting on Marina beach for an ordinance for jallikattu refused to disperse when the police requested them to, on the morning of January 23. The week-long protest conducted by the youth of Tamil Nadu with utmost dignity and restraint, came to be brutally suppressed by the police."

The students, advocate Pugalenthi claims, tried to escape lathi-wielding policemen by running into Nadukuppam. "The residents of Nadukuppam," he claims "saved many students from police brutality. The press reported the unprecedented violence unleashed by the police on innocent residents of Nadukuppam."

Advocate Pugalenthi claimed that the fish market was completely burnt down and that 100 families that solely depend on the fish market for their livelihood have lost work. "It is incumbent on the state of Tamil Nadu to reconstruct the fish market of Nadukuppam immediately to take steps to hold a medical camp in the hamlet," he said. 

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