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Sterlite Protest: FIR Names 2 Acting Magistrates Who Issued Firing Orders That Killed 13

The FIR copy accessed by News18 reveals that the tehsildars, acting as executive magistrates, issued the orders when the mob turned violent and the situation went out of control.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:May 29, 2018, 9:04 AM IST
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Sterlite Protest: FIR Names 2 Acting Magistrates Who Issued Firing Orders That Killed 13
Police personnel crack down on protesters demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin. (PTI)
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Chennai: After a week of unrest and 13 deaths in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu Police has lodged an FIR stating tehsildars Shekar and Kannan gave the orders to open fire at the mob of protesters on May 22 and May 23.

The FIR copy accessed by News18 reveals that the tehsildars, acting as executive magistrates, issued the orders when the mob turned violent and the situation went out of control.

It may be noted here that the protesters witnessed two rounds of firing, one at the Collector's Office and the other at Threshpuram area in Tuticorin.

The locals were protesting in demand of the closure of the Sterlite copper factory for 99 days when the protests turned violent on May 22, the 100th day of the stir, and 13 people were killed in police action.

The FIR states: "More than 500 protesters tried to enter the Sterlite office even after Section 144 was imposed. After three warnings to the protesters, the demonstrators did not budge and tried to destroy the property and torched vehicles. So, police officials had to take this crucial step as the lives of Sterlite employees were at stake and so were the lives of residents near the plant site."

While the Tamil Nadu government was initially seen justifying police action at the Tuticorin protests, opposition parties, including DMK and Kamal Haasan, probed the government, asking who had issued the orders to open fire at the protesters.

DMK even demanded the Tamil Nadu to step down following the May 22 incident that led to the deaths of 13 persons.

Meanwhile, Haasan has written to Governor Banwarilal Purohit on the anti-Sterlite protests and posed a few questions his party Makkal Needhi Maiam had raised over the last week, asking who issued the firing orders.

DMK has so far questioned the Chief Minister’s role asking if Edapadi K Palaniswami was not kept in the loop before the firing orders were issued.

So, does a tehsildar have the power to issue orders? According to Section 21 of the CrPC, the state government may appoint, for such term as they may think fit to be known as Special Executive Magistrates for particular areas or for performance of particular functions and confer on such Special Executive Magistrates the powers that are conferrable under the code.

Generally, deputy collectors, tehsildars and deputy tehsildars are appointed Special Executive Magistrates to handle urgent law and order problems on the special occasions.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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