The Defence Minister also pointed out that law and order is a state problem.

Will ask and tell you says Nirmala Sitharaman on why Modi did not comment on Thoothukudi
news Thoothuudi Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 10:37

Over two weeks after the May 22 police shootings in Thoothukudi where 13 civilians lost their lives in police firing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a press conference in Chennai on Friday that she would get back with an answer as to why Prime Minister Modi had remained mum on the issue.

Several in the state, including DMK leader MK Stalin had condemned Modi’s silence, reminding him that Thoothukudi was part of the India that he governed. When asked why the Prime Minister who has commented on a lot of issues had not commented on those who have lost their lives in the Thoothukudi police shootings, Nirmala Sitharaman said, "I'll ask and tell you." She was addressing a press meet in Chennai on Friday.

Prompted by Vanathi Srinivasan, she added, "General Secretary saying Rajnath Singh has expressed sadness. I remember now that Amit Shah had also said."

Responding to a question on why no central minister visited Thoothukudi, she said, “Listen to my answer carefully. Why did protest happen in Thoothukudi for 99 days? It happened peacefully. Why did it happen? (They say) it's bringing pollution in the environment. We think this is not good. It is a protest that was justified. Normally, the state authorities are supposed to talk with those protesting. That state's government. They have to take the right steps after talks and think about how it should be solved, what efforts should be taken, whether this will stop at the state government level or go to the centre. On the 100th day, it took a different turn. In a disheartening manner, lot of people lost their lives. In this issue, you (media) are justified in asking why no central Minister has gone there. You can ask. But what is the issue, when did it come up, who brought it, for how long has the unit been here, who is supposed to take responsibility for the protest happening now? If I get answers to all these questions, I will answer this too.”

Refusing to answer on whether the Tamil Nadu government handled the issue poorly, she said, "I have information that an inquiry has been ordered. They will tell us what happened. I can only comment on the findings of the inquiry commission."

She also conceded that the preliminary information she had received was only been based on media reports.

“Law and order is a state problem. It is a state subject. Whatever is happening should be ruled by the government here. I can't comment from there with that. Intelligence bureau gives me the information or somebody else in the central government has the information. Can I say my information is better than yours? And in spite of that, you didn't handle it alright? I don't know how to read your question. I understand it alright. But how do you expect me to answer when the inquiry commission is going through it and I will now- even as that happens- say no no the central government's information, I and B information was better than this? Is that right? I may not be able to answer your question the way you have posed it. Sorry,” she said.

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