Chennai: Activist Mugilan, missing since his press conference at Chennai on February 15, where he alleged involvement of high-ranking police officers in the firing on anti-Sterlite protesters killing 13 people, was taken into custody by the Tirupati railway police on Saturday. He is likely to be handed over to the Tamil Nadu police for being produced before the high court where a habeas corpus petition had been filed by noted human rights lawyer Henri Tiphagne soon after Mugilan went missing.
“Just received the good news that Mugilan was seen alive at the 1st platform of Tirupathy rly station at 7 pm by one of his friends who had studied with him in college. He informed his wife and his wife informed his friends who told me”, said Tiphagne in a late night message posted on social media.
He said he then verified the information and informed his lawyer Sudha Ramalingam before sharing the news with DGP Tripathy. Upon his advice, he told DGP, CB-CID Jaffar Sait. “It is up to civil society to share this news and place pressure on the TN CB CID to ensure that he is saved from the AP police custody and brought to Tamilnadu and produced before the high court without wasting a minute. Hope alone brings us success and I am personally happy that Mugilan is alive”, said Tiphagne.
Responding to the news on the social media platform, Sudha Ramalingam said she felt “a little relieved but cannot understand how despite so much news about his missing, no one else identified him”. She hoped Mugilan “is secured and produced before the court safely”.
Shortly later, videos of Mugilan being taken down the Tirupati train platform by two local policemen were released on the social media by his friends. They showed the activist, now with a long beard, raising slogans demanding arrest of those responsible for Thoothukudi police firing and the release of “Eelam Tamils languishing in jail for 28 years” (arrested in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case).
The friends of Mugilan have been worried about his safety since he had named two senior police officers and alleged they were directly involved in the police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters and also obliterated damning evidence. Now with his secure custody of the AP police, there is visible relief among them that the court would protect him and deliver justice in Tiphagne’s petition.