Chennai: Pro-Jallikattu protests took a violent turn on Monday in Chennai 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. Noted actor Kamal Haasan and other personalities too shared the video and expressed their outrage.
“What is this. Please explain some one,” said Haasan in a tweet along with the video, where burning vehicles can be seen lying on the road and the cop is seen running towards an auto and setting it on fire.
What is this. Please explain some one pic.twitter.com/MMpFXHSOVk— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) January 23, 2017
The Madras High Court on Monday had directed the Tamil Nadu DGP to ensure safety of the public and pro-Jallikattu protesters holding their stir peacefully even as the state government claimed that anti-social elements have infiltrated the students protests in the last few days.
Till January 19, it was protest by students, but after that anti-social elements had infiltrated them, state Advocate General R Muthukumarasamy said, quoting intelligence reports.
The submissions were made by the AG when petitions by two of the protesters seeking a direction to the police not to harass them came up before the court.
In his oral orders, Justice R Mahadevan directed the state DGP to ensure safety of public and pro-Jallikattu protesters conducting their stir 'peacefully'.
However, he said police can take action if the protesters violated the law or in the event of any untoward incident.
The petitions came up for hearing hours after the police crackdown at Marina Beach, the epicentre of the agitation.
Posing questions such as why police resorted to baton charge, the judge directed the AG to instruct the DGP to ensure safety of public and protesters.
The judge also directed senior advocate R Sankarasubbu, who appeared for the petitioners, to get instructions from the protesters as to how long they will continue their agitation in the wake of the government passing an ordinance for conduct of Jallikattu.
In their petitions, G Pavendhan and Senthil Kumar sought a direction to the police not to harass the protesters.
Sankarasubbu claimed that police overnight unleashed force on the protesters who were peacefully protesting since January 15 last.
He alleged some of the protesters 'collapsed' in the baton charge and this was not an isolated incident.
"We are only students. We may have concluded (the protest) after discussing with the legal fraternity about the ordinance passed. But the government did not have patience," he said.
Countering the charges, the AG, who traced the sequence of events leading to the promulgation of the ordinance, submitted that a number of protesting students had withdrawn their stir in view of the promulgation of the ordinance.
He also said the petitions had been filed under Section 482 of CrPC and not PILs. The government was also supporting the cause of the protesters....