Anti-Sterlite protest: HC leaves it to NHRC to decide lawyer’s plea for probe

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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 killing of people in police firing during protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher said the NHRC has already taken up the matter on its own and sought a report from the state’s chief secretary and the Director General of Police and asked the Tamil Nadu-based lawyer to appear before it to obtain suitable directions. The court also said his representation should be placed before the Commission for directions on May 29.
Violence broke out on May 22 during protests demanding the closure of the factory over pollution concerns with police opening fire, resulting in the death of 10 people. The agitation has been going on for over three months for the closure of the factory.
A plea was on Thursday moved in the High Court by petitioner-lawyer A. Rajarajan for direct intervention of NHRC into the incident. The plea said he gave representation to the NHRC on May 23 seeking its earliest intervention into the “unlawful killings” and claimed the commission refused to consider it as a matter of urgency and ignored ground realities.
It has alleged that “human rights violation and continuous unlawful killings by indiscriminate police firing was happening even after the case was suo motu taken and report was requested by respondent (NHRC)“.
The petition has alleged that unless the NHRC directly intervenes in the issue at the earliest or through an independent agency, the “unlawful killings by police” will continue and there is a possibility of destruction of evidence.
The NHRC had sent a notice to the Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary and police chief.

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