The Tamil Nadu government has decided to withdraw most of the cases registered against anti-Sterlite protesters. In an order issued on May 21, the government has also decided to give Non-Objection Certificates for higher education and jobs to those arrested during the protest. The government decision is based on recommendations of the inquiry commission headed by Justice Aruna Jegadeesan. The massive protest took place on May 22, 2018 in the Thoothukudi district of the state in which thousands of people took part demanding that the expansion plans of the Sterlite Copper Plant be cancelled and marched to the Collectorate. In the violence that ensued, 13 civilians were killed in police firing, and more than 100 people were injured.
"A Commission consisting of retired High Court justice Aruna Jegadeesan was constituted to inquire into the loss of life, injuries and damage to public and private property due to violence during the protest against the permanent closure of the Sterlite copper smelter on May 22, 2018. in Thoothukudi. The Interim Report of the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Mrs. Aruna Jegadeesan was submitted to the Government on May 14, 2021," reads the order regarding the closure of cases.
It further read, "In the report, the Commission recommended the withdrawal of unnecessary cases registered by the police in connection with this protest. The State Attorney General of Tamil Nadu's opinion on these recommendations and the report of the Chief of Police were obtained and carefully considered by the Government".
Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced the following decisions based on the recommendations:
1. Out of the total cases registered in connection with this incident, all the cases except those which have been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and those which have been registered as causing damage to public and private property will be withdrawn.
2. The cases registered in connection with this protest prior to the incident on May 22, 2018 will be withdrawn except for those cases pending in the Supreme Court.
3. The Commission has recommended financial relief to some of the 94 persons arrested by the police on the ground that they were injured and many others had to undergo mental stress. One lakh rupees each will be provided as relief to 93 persons on this basis. Apart from this, one person was arrested in another case and died in prison. His 72-year-old mother who lost her source for livelihood will be given a relief of two lakh rupees.
4. Based on the recommendations given by the Commission, Certificates of Barrier will be issued for the higher education and employment of persons arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police during this struggle.