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Jallikattu: Human Rights panel issues notices to Tamil Nadu govt, state police after violence

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 25 January 2017, 11:05 IST

The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the state police over reports of "unprovoked excesses" committed by the forces in quelling the pro-Jallikattu protests in Chennai.

The NHRC on 25 January said it has issued the notices to the Chief Secretary, Chennai Police Commissioner and Director General of Police of the state, and sought reports in the matter in two weeks.

The Commission in a statement said that it has taken its own view based on media reports, that after the passage of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the state Assembly, "police, without any prior caution, resorted to beating, arresting and damaging private property in order to disperse a large number of people gathered at landmark places in Chennai in support of Jallikattu."

Violence had broken out in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu as police cracked down on protesters, even as the six-day long "Marina uprising" was called off yesterday after the state Assembly passed a bill to replace the ordinance, thereby allowing the banned bull-taming spot of Jallikattu.

The Commission observed that "unprovoked police action amounts to violation of human rights."

"The people of Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai, had been conducting protests over a week demanding conducting of the bull-taming sport, associated with 'Pongal' festival reflecting Tamil culture.

"All through, the protest was peaceful... The visuals on television news channels showed that police set on fire the huts, autos, motorcycles, vegetable shops on streets and other properties in interior streets in Chennai," the NHRC statement said.

"Students ran for their lives. Police even entered into the houses and started beating people indiscriminately. The police blocked major routes leading to Marina Beach as well as Chennai city," it added.

Several videos reportedly showing cruelty and acts of violence of Chennai policemen during their action against Jallikattu protesters on 23 January had surfaced on social media.

One of the videos allegedly shows a policeman charging at a woman who was standing at a door. She was attacked by another policeman after which she runs inside.

Pro-Jallikattu protests took a violent turn on Monday as several vehicles outside the Ice House police station near the Marina beach were burnt and as many as 24 police personnel injured in stone pelting and hospitalised. While protesters were held responsible for the arson, a video broadcasted by some local channels showed a policeman set a vehicle on fire.

The video has since gone viral on social media and a constable can be seen setting an auto on fire.

According to the media reports, Police chief S George has ensured that the videos will be investigated. "An intelligence officer informed me that there was a picture of policemen indulging in violence. It is just ridiculous. We will find out," he said.

Earlier, George had discarded all the allegations against police saying that the videos were morphed.

--With PTI inputs

First published: 25 January 2017, 10:55 IST