CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday ordered the E K Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu to state the reasons for the police firing during anti-Sterlite protest in Thoothukudi which left at least 13 people dead on May 22.
The court directed the state government to file its response by June 6. The order was passed by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
The order was passed in response to a petition demanding registration of murder cases against senior police and other government officials for the firing and also setting up a Special Investigative Team (SIT).
Madras High Court also directed the state police to not bother the families of missing accused in the name of inquiry.
On May 22, police opened fire at people protesting against the Sterlite Copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi killing at least 13 people and injuring over 60 persons.
The government was asked to submit its report by June 6.
Following the violence, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had asked for "police action" and announced a judicial inquiry into the issue.
Detailing the events leading to the "unfortunate" deaths, he had said the protesters took out a procession towards the Collectorate defying prohibitory orders in the area. They not only pelted policemen with stones but also set on fire their vehicles as well as those parked in the Collectorate.
''They hurled stones at the collector's office,'' the CM said in a statement.
"The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence... Police had to control the violence. I was grieved to know nine persons were unfortunately killed in this incident," Palaniswami, who also holds the Home portfolio, had earlier said.
Earlier, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth had blamed anti-social elements for the anti-Sterlite protests last week that resulted in the tragic death of at least 13 people in police firing in Tuticorin.
"The attack on the collector's office and setting on fire (Sterlite) quarters was not done by the common people. Some anti-social elements infiltrated... (the protesting locals). It is their handiwork," he said.
''If you undertake protest for each and everything, Tamil Nadu will be turned into a cemetery,'' the actor said.