Acting on a plea, the Madras High Court on Wednesday (May 22) ordered the police not to proceed on cases filed under CrPC 107 against the anti-sterlite protesters and barred the law enforcement machinery from registering new ones under the same section.
The petition moved by “People’s Watch”, an NGO, came up for hearing in the backdrop of the people in Thoothukudi district getting booked while they were making arrangements to commemorate the first anniversary of the anti-sterlite protests, in which 14 people died.
It all began in the morning, when police entered the vicinity of their homes while they were getting ready to pay special tributes in temples and churches to those who lost their lives in the police firing.
Most of the residents alleged that only the family members of the deceased were ordered to attend the condolence meeting and that the rest were barred.
“Though the Madras High Court has granted permission to hold condolence meetings in a closed space, for the past one year the people of Thoothukudi are under constant surveillance. They have been unable to hold even a public meeting” said lawyer Vetri Selvan of ‘Poovulagin Nanbargal’. For each and every meeting the people of Thoothukudi are made to run from pillar to post, he added.
A report titled ‘A year after Thoothukudi burned’-released by Madurai based “People’s Watch,” ahead of the remembrance day, has alleged that the human rights defenders in Thoothukudi are restricted under sec 107 of CrPC. It deals with action to be taken against ‘any person who is likely to commit a breach of peace or disturb the public tranquility or to do any wrongful act. The provision requires such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond for good conduct (with or without sureties), for a period of maximum one year. If the person breaches any of the conditions mentioned in the bond, he could be imprisoned.
“The cases related to sec 107 were stayed by the Madras High Court’s Madurai bench in July last year. But once again a renewed effort has been made under the same section and the human rights defenders were asked to appear before the sub collector of the district on May 20” the report said. It is to be mentioned that those who approached the court to get the necessary permissions to observe the first anniversary of the police firing are also summoned by the police under sec 107, the report added.
Activists claim that in the last one week more than 400 protesters were booked under the same section.
Meanwhile, anti-Kudankulam nuclear plant activist SP Udayakumaran was arrested while he was on his way to attend a condolence meeting here. Activists said that police didn’t reveal the section under which he was detained.