News: Rights activists find human wall

CHENNAI: A 10-member human rights group, which went to investigate the February 23 encounter site at Velachery on Sunday, claimed it was prevented entering the area by the police, who also instigated some persons to chase them away. The rights activists later lodged a complaint with the Commissioner of Police. Prof Marx of People’s Union for Human Rights, who led the 10-member team comprising Sukumaran, Prof Kalyani, Madhumita Dutta, among others, told Express that they went to the scene of encounter on A L Mudali Second Street, Netaji Road, at Velachery around 11.30 am to probe the incident and found the stretch leading to the house barricaded by the police. “About a dozen police personnel were deployed there and we were not allowed to go to the spot,” he said. “So, we started talking to the residents in the area and the neighbouring street in a cordial manner.”

About half an hour later, he said the team members called the CoP and JCP (south), saying they wanted to visit the firing spot. “The police officials told us that we had to get the permission of the judicial magistrate investigating the incident.”

Meanwhile, some three or four persons arrived on the scene and began “shouting at the team members, which included five women”, Prof Marx said. “They asked the women activists whether they had come to conduct a fashion parade. We told them that we had come to investigate the incident and that we were ready to register their truths also.”

The argument went on for about 30 minutes and, as things turned ugly, the team was finally forced to leave, the activist said. “We again called the CoP to submit a complaint and he gave us an appointment for 1.30 pm.”

The 10-member team went to the commissioner’s office in Egmore and submitted a complaint, alleging that they had been prevented from conducting an investigation because of the action of some persons, who acted at the instigation of the police. Prof Marx said the CoP refuted the allegation, but promised to look into the incident.

Citing an order passed by Judge Ramasubramaniam of the Madurai bench of Madras High Court on a petition from a police inspector not to allow public hearing on the Paramakudi firing incident, the activist said the judge had rejected the plea, saying that it was due to the work of human rights groups that many truths had come out. “So, we have every right to conduct an investigation,” he said.

Indian Express / 27.02.2012

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