HC asks Melavalavu massacre convicts not to enter village

A signboard shows Melavalavu village in Tamil Nadu's Madurai district. | Photo Prabhakar Tamilarasu

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed all the 13 convicts of Melavalavu massacre who were released recently not to enter Melavalavu village until disposal of petitions against their “premature release”.

A division bench of Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice N Anand Venkatesh issued the ruling on a PIL challenging the orders passed for the release of the 13 convicts in the murder of six Dalit men, including former Melavalavu panchayat president Murugesan, in 1997, on the grounds of good conduct.

Passing an interim order on Wednesday (November 27), the judges directed all the 13 convicts not to enter into the village and stay in Vellore until the petitions are disposed.

He further directed the Vellore and Madurai district Superintendent of Police (SP) to ensure that they do not enter the village.

The 13 convicts were asked to appear before the Vellore probation officer every second and fourth Sunday and before the Vellore SP on first and third Sunday, apart from following all the norms specified in their bond of good conduct.

The judges directed the convicts to surrender their passport, if any, to the Madurai district SP, and provide their residential address and phone numbers with the Madurai and Vellore SPs.

Also read | 22 years after Melavalavu massacre, what has changed — and what hasn’t

The divisional bench further directed the Madurai district SP not to give any permission for any events, including protests and meetings in connection with the Melavalavu massacre.

On November 9, the state government released the 13 convicts as part of the MGR centenary celebrations.

After the convicts were released, advocate P Rathinam moved the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court against their release. On Wednesday, after passing an interim order, the bench asked the state government to file a response and posted the case for further hearing on January 6, 2020.