The Delhi High Court on Friday left it to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to decide a lawyer’s representation for an independent probe into the deaths in police firing during protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district.
“Let the representation be placed before the NHRC for directions on May 29,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said. The judge further observed, “since the NHRC has already sought a report from the state’s chief secretary and the director general of police (DGP), the Tamil Nadu-based lawyer can appear before the Commission to obtain suitable directions.”
Violence broke out on May 22 during protests demanding closure of the factory over pollution concerns and police opened fire, resulting in the death of 13 people. The agitation had been going on for over three months.
A plea by advocate A Rajarajan said he is seeking a probe 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.
The advocate’s plea, moved yesterday in the High Court for direct intervention of NHRC into the incident, said he had given a representation to the NHRC on May 23, seeking earliest intervention into the “unlawful killings” and claimed that the human rights panel had refused to consider it as a matter of urgency and ignored the ground realities.