The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to consider a plea for an independent probe into the killing of people in police firing during protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district.
Violence broke out on Tuesday during protests demanding the closure of the factory for allegedly polluting the area, causing severe health problems for residents, and also over concerns over the depleting groundwater table. The police had resorted to firing, resulting in the death of 13 people. The agitation has been going on for more than three months for the closure of the factory.
The court also asked Tamil Nadu-based lawyer A Rajarajan to appear before the commission for directions on May 29. Rajarajan had sought a direct intervention of the NHRC into the incident. He said the NHRC had ignored ground realities and refused to consider his plea for early intervention into the “unlawful killings.”
The petition also alleged that “human rights violation and continuous unlawful killings by indiscriminate police firing were happening even after the case was suo motu taken and report was requested by NHRC,” which had already sought response from the Tamil Nadu’s chief secretary and the police chief.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain another PIL seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the deaths of protesters on the grounds that the state police would not be able to conduct a free and fair investigation into the incident due to the involvement of senior police officials.
It asked advocate GS Mani, who filed the PIL on the Tuticorin violence, to mention the matter for urgent listing on May 28.
Mani has also sought registration of an FIR for the alleged offence of murder against Tuticorin collector, the superintendent of police and other police officials.
He also termed as inadequate the compensation of `10 lakh to the families of those killed. The PIL has sought compensation of `50 lakh to the families of those killed in the firing and `25 lakh to those who were seriously injured in the police firing.