The activist had gone missing in February.

Missing TN activist Mugilan found in AP video shows him in police custody
news Missing Saturday, July 06, 2019 - 23:19

Nearly five months after Tamil Nadu-based social and environmental activist Mugilan disappeared, he was spotted at a railway station in Andhra Pradesh. Mugilan was spotted by a passenger at the Tirupati railway station on Platform No 1 at around 7 pm on Saturday. The passenger, reportedly an acquaintance of Mugilan’s family, alerted the local police and then informed the activist’s wife. Mugilan’s family and friends from Tamil Nadu have informed the Tamil Nadu police.

A video that has surfaced online, purportedly shot by the acquaintance on the railway platform, shows a bearded Mugilan being escorted by the police even as he shouts slogans against the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam. As the police officers ask Mugilan to come along with them, the activist appears to protest being manhandled. “Don’t destroy, don’t destroy! Nuclear waste in Kudankulam! Don’t create nuclear waste in Kudankulam! Don’t destroy Tamil Nadu!” he raises slogans. The video also shows a limp Mugilan exhausted and out of breath, even as he is escorted by police personnel. 

The confirmation regarding Mugilan’s re-appearance came after human rights lawyer and activist Henri Tiphagne verified the initial information. Speaking to TNM, Henri said, “He was found at 7 pm at the first platform of the Tirupati railway station. We have verified the information. He was taken into custody of Andhra Pradesh police. We don’t know how he came there and whether he is still in the custody of the Andhra Pradesh police (as in the video). The CBCID, which is handling the case, has been informed. The Director General of Police has also been appraised.”

Speaking to TNM on Sunday morning, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police KKN Anburajan said, "Mugilan was picked up by the Tirupati unit of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and was handed over to their Chennai counterparts, who then handed him over to the CBCID in Chennai."

The SP also said that the RPF personnel who detained him did not know it was Mugilan and only learnt this later. "He staged a small dharna in front of a train, which is when the RPF stepped in and detained him," the senior police officer said.

"There was no arrest made in Tirupati at all, till he was handed over to the CBCID. We do not know what action they took," he added.

The CB-CID is also on the lookout for him in connection with an alleged rape case. In April, a woman had lodged complaint with the Kulithalai police in Karur district alleging that he had cheated and raped her.

Mugilan, who is also the Coordinator of Tamil Nadu Environment Protection Movement, was travelling from the Egmore railway station in Chennai to Madurai in a special train on the night of February 15, after he held a press meet in Chennai about the shooting of 13 civilians during the anti-Sterlite protests. In the press meet, Mugilan named two senior police officers and accused them of being complicit when miscreants torched government vehicles and destroyed CCTV cameras.

Mugilan’s disappearance prompted a months-long social media campaign asking with the hashtag #WhereIsMugilan with demonstrations in the USA and Australia. Politicians from the state had demonstrated against his disappearance, even as human rights NGO Amnesty International urged the authorities to investigate his disappearance.

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