Kanimozhi’s tweet was in reaction to reports that 12 of the 13 anti-Sterlite protesters killed on May 22 in police firing were hit by bullets in the head or chest.

Thoothukudi killings planned by EPS government alleges DMK MP Kanimozhi
news Sterlite Protest Monday, December 24, 2018 - 12:35

DMK Rajya Sabha MP M Kanimozhi slammed the ruling Tamil Nadu government on Sunday, accusing them of orchestrating the murder of anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi to serve corporate interests. In a strongly worded message on Twitter, she further proclaimed that people will teach the government a lesson for their alleged actions.

Kanimozhi’s scathing tweet was in reaction to reports which stated that 12 of the 13 protesters who were killed on May 22 in police firing were hit by bullets in the head or chest. Two more people reportedly died from bullets that pierced the sides of their heads. The youngest protester who was killed, 17-year-old Snowlin, had a bullet pierce through the back of her head and exit through her mouth.

“Autopsy reports show that the shootings in Thoothukudi were planned murders by the Edappadi government. Several of them were shot in the head, the chest and from the back. People will teach a lesson to this government that kills them for corporates,” reads Kanimozhi’s tweet.

According to police rules in India, when using live ammunition to counter civil unrest, officers of the law should not shoot to kill. The rules say, ‘aim should be kept low, preferably below the waist level and directed against the most threatening part of the mob’.

 

 

In November, the CBI, which is investigating the shooting, registered a case against unknown persons and officials of the police and revenue departments. The officials, who are yet to be identified, have been booked for criminal conspiracy and disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person, amongst other sections. The number of officials booked is not known yet. The FIR filed by the CBI comes after the Madras High Court orders that the body should register cases on the complaints received against officials and police in respect to occurrences on May 22 and investigate it thereon.

Following the protests in Thoothukudi and the subsequent shooting, the police and district authorities largely maintained that the loss of life was a result of an intelligence failure and was an unplanned effort to protect government buildings and authorities.

But visuals telecast by Tamil TV channels showed policemen in plain clothes taking aim from the top of a police van and firing at protesters. In a sequence of events caught on video, a policeman in a yellow t-shirt is seen standing on the top of the van and shooting with a rifle. Later, another policeman in a black t-shirt climbs on top of the van, lies down and takes aim to shoot. The protesters don’t seem to be in the near vicinity of the police. Other reports say that police took aim from vantage points on roofs of buildings too.

While the visuals enraged activists and the public, the audio heard in the background was even more chilling. As a policeman is seen on top of the van, a voice in the background can be heard saying, “At least one should die.”

The video was shot from the vicinity of the police officers and one can see that mostly policemen are around the van. It was, however, not clear as to who exactly made that statement. But the audio exposed the intention of at least some of the policemen who were assembled there to control the protesters.