A fact-finding team filed a report on the alleged police violence on January 23 in the Nadukuppam fishing village off the Marina beach, The Coastal Resource Centre said. The all-women team consisting of former chair State Commission on Women Dr V Vasanthi Devi, Dr Anandhi Shanmugasundaram from the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Poongkhulali Balasubramanian, an advocate at Madras High Court, and Chandrika Radhakrishnan from blog Thozilalar Koodam visited Nadukuppam village on Tuesday, a day after police cracked down on those protesting in support of the bulltaming sport jallikattu.
Hundreds of villagers told the team that the security personnel had beaten up villagers and repeatedly referred to them as “terrorists”. Policewomen had allegedly set fire to the fish market using some “inflammable powder-like substance”, the report said. The police had also allegedly tried to force villagers to sign a testimony declaring that the jallikattu protestors had indulged in arson and violence. However, they had refused to do so.
“The mental trauma – anger and helplessness mixed with a sense of betrayal – can have lasting effects on the minds of the women and children who were witness to and victims of police atrocities,” the report said.
The fact-finding team recommended that a high-level independent probe be conducted to verify the allegations made by the residents of Nadukuppam. Ex-gratia compensation should be provided to those who lost their assets in the arson attack, the report said, adding that a standard operating procedure for crowd control should be published by the police.
“They stormed into the street, started beating people on the street and banging at our doors. They even began to damage our property,” P Sumathi, a homemaker had earlier told Scroll.in.
The police action in Chennai had came after a week of protests across Tamil Nadu against the ban on jallikattu imposed by the Supreme Court in 2014. Chennai’s Marina Beach was a centre for the agitation, drawing more than 50,000 people over the week. On January 23, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed a Bill, replacing the ordinance on jallikattu revoking the ban on the bull-taming sport by Supreme Court.