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Commission Probing Thoothukudi Violence Summons Actor Rajinikanth over 'Anti-social Elements' Remark

File photo of actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth.

File photo of actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth.

Rajinikanth had said at the time he was aware of the involvement of “anti-social elements” in the violence that had erupted during anti-Sterlite protests in which 13 people were killed in Thoothukudi.

Chennai: A one-man commission, headed by retired Madras High Court judge Aruna Jagadesan, probing the violence in Thoothukudi in May 2018, has issued summons to actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth. The superstar has been asked to depose before the commission on February 25.

Rajinikanth had said at the time that he was aware of the involvement of “anti-social elements” in the violence in which 13 people were killed. The former judge wants to talk to the actor in connection with this statement and has asked him to appear before him in person.

Rajinikanth had met those injured in the violence in Thoothukudi at the government hospital and told local reporters that “anti-social elements” were behind the incident.

Later, when the actor was asked about his statement at the Chennai airport, he had said, “Don’t ask me how I know, I know all of that.”

The commission was set up by the Tamil Nadu government after protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite copper unit in Thoothukudi town took a violent turn on May 22 with at least 13 people being killed in alleged police firing.

Thirty others were left injured as a mob of 20,000 people went on a rampage demanding the polluting copper unit be shut down.

The commission has summoned police officers, employees of Sterlite and doctors as part of its investigation.

In September 2019, News18 had accessed an interim report after the commission spoke to more than 300 witnesses in 14 sittings.

The report had stated it has been observed that midnight arrests of hundreds of people following the violence happened without proper evidence and due procedure.

After the shooting incident, persons in the age-group of 18 and 30 were arrested from different parts of the town without any material to implicate them, it said.

“The police officers had resorted to the whimsical arrests and implicated them in various crime numbers and in the said exercise, miserably failed and omitted to follow the procedure of law and there is strong evidence of brutal attack on the arrested persons… failed to give proper treatment,” the report said.

The commission had further urged the government to withdraw the huge number of cases filed against locals in a bid to create an atmosphere of goodwill.