The violence took place in the Thoothukudi protest because of the intrusion of toxic-germs and the anti-social elements, Rajinikanth had said. (Express Photo)
Actor Rajinikanth has been summoned by the one-member commission probing the Tuticorin violence for his remarks on the anti-Sterlite protesters. The committee, headed by retired high court judge Aruna Jagadeesan, had asked the Tamil actor to appear before the inquiry commission for a deposition on February 25.
On May 22, 2018, at least 13 people were killed and several others were injured when the Tamil Nadu police opened fire on protestors who took out a demonstration against the construction of a new smelter plant by Sterlite Copper plant owned by the Vedanta Limited in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. The protestors claimed that the plant causes pollution.
After meeting those injured in the firing at the Thoothukudi Medical College Hospital on May 30, 2018, Rajinikanth said the protest turned violent only after the “intrusion of anti-social elements.” He further added that if there is protest for everything then Tamil Nadu will turn into a graveyard. “Ordinary people did not torch the collector office and the housing quarters, the violence happened because of the intrusion of toxic-germs and the anti-social elements. We have to be cautious while protesting, anti-social elements have increased in Tamil Nadu, the same thing happened on the Jallikattu protest, this protest has ended with bloodshed. The government should control the toxic-germs and anti-social elements with an iron hand,” Rajinikanth had said while addressing reporters in Tuticorin.
Later, when the actor was questioned at the Chennai airport on what basis he concluded that anti-social elements were only responsible for the violence, he said “You are asking how I know that, I know that’s it," the actor had said.
Rajinikanth’s comments drew widespread criticism in the state, the opposition parties claimed that the actor is siding with the government without analysing the facts. Following the demand of activists, public and opposition, the state government constituted a one-member commission to probe the alleged police firing.
As part of its inquiry, the commission summoned several people including police officers who were present during the protest, Sterlite employees, forensic experts who submitted the ballistic report and doctors who provided treatment to the injured. Political leader Seeman was also summoned for making a remark about the violence. The Naam Thamizhar coordinator appeared before the commission on October 16, 2019, and said even Rajinikanth should be summoned to appear before the inquiry commission as he claimed to have evidence. "We have to find out how Rajinikanth knew that anti-social elements entered the protest and they are the one responsible for the violence," he said.