In a major decision, the DMK government in Tamil Nadu has decided to withdraw all cases against anti-Sterlite Copper protesters except a few which are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The state government has also decided to grant financial assistance of Rs one lakh each to 93 arrested in connection with the protests.
Massive protests erupted in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin in 2018 against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant over environmental concerns. The protests, which had been brewing for a while, escalated on May 22, 2018 leading to violence that resulted in 13 deaths in police firing.
Except cases over damage to public and private properties and some other cases, including pending matters in the Supreme Court, all other police cases against protesters would be dropped, the government said through an official press release on Friday.
Chief Minister M K Stalin took the decision, based on the interim report of Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, heading the Commission of Inquiry into the Tuticorin police firing and violence, officials said.
The opinions of Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram and a report from the Director General of Police, J K Tripathy were also taken into consideration, the release noted.
A retired judge of the Madras High Court, Jagadeesan, was appointed in 2018 under the Commissions of Inquiry Act to look into aspects, including the causes and circumstances that led to the police firing and damage to public and private properties.
The Commission's interim report that was presented to the chief minister on May 14, recommended withdrawal of "unnecessary cases," the government said.
The inquiry panel has recommended relief to 94 people who were arrested and accordingly 93 would be given Rs one lakh each and Rs two lakh to the mother of a deceased person.
Also, as per the commission's another recommendation, No-objection certificate would be given to those who were arrested in connection with the protests, considering their higher education and job opportunities.
Meanwhile, Stalin gave away appointment orders for government jobs to 17 people (heirs of those killed during the protest and also some those who suffered grievous injuries in the stir) in an event held at the Madurai District Collectorate.
(With PTI inputs)