Anti-Sterlite protests: NHRC team to probe deaths of 13 people in police firing, submit report in two weeks

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission decided to send its fact-finding team to probe the deaths of 13 people in police firing during the protests against Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district.

 Anti-Sterlite protests: NHRC team to probe deaths of 13 people in police firing, submit report in two weeks

Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

The move comes days after the Delhi High Court had left it to the NHRC to decide on a lawyer's representation for an independent probe into it. The rights panel had earlier issued notices to Tamil Nadu's chief secretary and the director general of police seeking detailed reports in two weeks, along with the status of those who were being treated for injuries.

"The NHRC today decided to send its own team of officers for making a fact-finding inquiry/investigation into the incident of police firing in Tuticorin district of Tamil  Nadu on 22 May, causing the death of more than 11 protesters demanding closure of Sterlite Copper plant," the NHRC said in a statement.

The commission asked its director general (investigation) to depute a team headed by an officer not below the rank of senior superintendent of police (SSP) assisted by three more officers of the rank of deputy SP and inspectors from its investigation division, the rights panel said.

"The NHRC team would leave forthwith and examine all the concerned, including family members of the victims and independent witnesses as it deems appropriate and submit a report to the commission within two weeks," the statement said.

The commission, in the statement, said it had given this direction after considering the representation made by A Rajarajan, through advocate Sabarish Subramanian, before the Delhi High Court. The NHRC has observed that its instant direction in the matter was "independent of the directions already given by it to the chief secretary and the director general of police, after taking suo motu cognisance of the incident on the basis of media reports".

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday ordered the State Pollution Control Board to seal and "permanently" close the Vedanta Group's copper plant in Tuticorin following last week's violent protests over pollution concerns during which 13 people were killed in police firing.

On 25 May, advocate Subramanian said in the court that his client had sought a probe which was independent of the control of the DGP or the chief secretary as they were allegedly responsible for the orders to the police to open fire on the protesters.

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Updated Date: May 29, 2018 19:52:19 IST