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Saturday, September 25, 2021

NHRC seeks more time to file counter in Sterlite firing case

Henry Tiphagne, the executive director of People's Watch, an NGO had contended the NHRC, after initiating an investigation into the issue, had closed the case in October 2018. It was yet to disclose the contents of the report filed by its probe team which had conducted an investigation at the site.

By: PTI | Chennai |
August 10, 2021 8:46:13 am
Tuticorin violence: one person inquiry panel Aruna jagdeesan to meet injured in hospitalViolence broke out on May 22, 2018 during protests demanding closure of the factory over pollution concerns and police opened fire, resulting in the death of 13 people and injuring several others.

The National Human Rights Commission on Monday sought more time to file its counter in response to a PIL from a human rights activist seeking to reopen the 2018 police firing case in Tuticorin, in which 13 persons were killed.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice T S Sivagnanam, before which the PIL from Henry Tiphagne, the executive director of People’s Watch, an NGO, came up for further hearing today, granted time till September 13.

Tiphagne, also an advocate, had contended the NHRC, after initiating an investigation into the issue, had closed the case in October 2018.

It was yet to disclose the contents of the report filed by its probe team which had conducted an investigation at the site.

The grounds for closing the case in its order was ill-advised and it must be reopened, the petitioner said.

After considering the “adequate compensation” paid by the state to the victims, other appropriate steps taken to restore peace and normalcy by it and the appointment of a judicial commission to look into alleged police excesses, the NHRC in its order passed in October 2018 held “no further intervention is required in the matter.”

The bench on June 25 had directed the Commission to file its 2018 spot investigation report in the matter and clarify its stand on the issue through a counter affidavit in four weeks.

When the matter came up yesterday, the NHRC filed the report in a sealed cover. The bench noted it had not filed its counter as per the earlier order.

Additional Solicitor General R Sankaranarayanan told the judges that more time may be given to enable the NHRC to file its counter. Accordingly the bench granted time till September 13.

Protests by locals against Vedanta’s copper unit Sterlite in Tuticorin, over pollution concerns, peaked on May 22, 2018, leading to violence that resulted in 13 deaths in police firing.

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