Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee on Monday said that it would be appropriate for the Thoothukudi shootings to be investigated by the CBI.
She was responding to the chief of the Makkal Arasu Katchi, advocate Rajinikanthâ€™s petition. The petition sought for the policemen who had shot at the protesters to be booked for murder. It also requested the government to disclose the actual death toll in the shooting.
Apart from asking for Rs 1 crore ex-gratia for the family of the victims, his petition also requested the court to order for a Special Investigation Team with forensic experts to conduct inquiries into the shooting.
The petition was heard by a bench consisting of Justice Indira Banerjee and Judge PT Asha, who said that it would be a fair investigation only if it is conducted by the CBI. The bench ordered the Tamil Nadu government to respond to the petition within a week and slotted the next hearing in this case for July 6.
Thirteen lives were lost when the police opened fire on the anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi on May 22. They were protesting against the Sterlite Copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi which was causing serious health issues to the residents there. This created massive uproar across the state, and people condemned the actions of the police. Following this uproar, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the closure of the Sterlite plant and the plant was sealed on May 28.
The incident raised questions as to who issued the shooting orders on May 22. Multiple officers have since submitted statements claiming to have issued shooting orders on the fateful day. The Tamil Nadu government had formed an inquiry commission headed by Judge Aruna Jagadeesan to probe the incident. The inquiry commission will be accepting statements and evidence till June 22 which could then be extended till June 30.