Fact Finding Report on Police Excesses in Nadukuppam Village, Marina Beach

 

[Via Trevor Jeyaraj]

Fact Finding Mission to Enquire into Alleged Police Excesses on 23rd January 2017 in Nadukuppam Village, Marina Beach, Tamil Nadu

 January 25, 2017

"நாங்க காலம்காலமா இந்த குப்பத்திலே இருக்கோம். நாங்க இன்னிக்கி திடீர்ன்னு பயங்கரவாதிகளா ஆயிட்டோமா? அடிபட்டு, ரத்தம் சிந்த ஓடிவந்த கொழந்தைங்க, அவங்க பயங்கரவாதிங்களா? அவங்களும் எங்கள மாதிரி தமிழங்கதானே? எங்க கொழந்தைங்க மாதிரிதானே? தமிழனுக்குத் தமிழன்தானே ஆதரவு தரனும்? அவங்கள காப்பாத்துறது எங்க கடமை இல்லையா? அதுக்கா எங்கள இப்படி அடிச்சு நோறுக்குனாங்க?"

"We have been living in these Fishing hamlet for ages, Have we become Terrorists, out of the blue? The kids who have run to us, bleeding, after being hit, were they terrorists? Aren't they Tamilans like us? Aren't they like our Children? It is a Tamilan who should stand by a fellow Tamilan, is it not? Is it not our duty to protect them? Have they beaten us to pulp like this, for all this?" ~ Woman resident, Nadukuppam, as told to Dr. V. Vasanthi Devi.

cff 1

An all-women fact-finding team consisting of Dr. V. Vasanthi Devi, former chair State Commission on Women, Prof. Anandhi Shanmugasundaram, Adv. Poongkhulali Balasubramanian, and Chandrika Ramanujam from Thozilalar Koodam visited Nadukuppam between 2 and 5 p.m. on 24 January to file the following fact-finding report. Considering the urgency of the situation and the threat of destruction of valuable evidence at Nadukuppam, the Fact finding team has decided to release this report immediately. This report maybe further updated to include versions of other affected individuals and the police personnel.

cff 2The Fact-finding team was overwhelmed by the consistency in the testimonies of hundreds of people who came forward to speak – sometimes all at once – about the goings on of 23 January, 2017. What is clear is that after their initial hot pursuit of bleeding and terrified youngsters from the beach, the police returned at least two more times armed with stones, bottles, petrol bombs, rubber bullets, tear gas and incendiary material. While there is some confusion about exact times, there is clarity on the sequence of events. It is established quite clearly that:

 a) The police had badly beaten the young men and women who came running into the village in the early hours with injuries, clothes in a disarray and in a state of incoherent terror.
b) The police repeatedly referred to the youngsters as "theeviravadhigal" (terrorists) to justify their violent behaviour. By accusing the villagers of harbouring terrorists, they justified their violence and destruction of property.
c) Policewomen were as abusive – physically and verbally – as the policemen. They have used sexist, demeaning words, entered homes, destroyed furniture, dragged innocent men, women and children out on the street and beaten them up in public view.
cff 3d) Policewomen set fire to the fishmarket using some inflammable powder like substance. Several other vehicles and hand carts and shops were also systematically targetted. Some police women also looted the fish, especially the high-priced fish.
e) Policemen later came and tried to pressurise residents to sign a testimony declaring that the protestors had indulged in arson and violence, and promised them compensation in return. The residents refused.
f) Just as the fisherfolk were recovering from Vardah, the police have destroyed the single most important livelihood asset of more than 250 women in Nadukuppam. This will have a devastating impact on the domestic economies of the families, and the schooling and future of their children at a time when exams are around the corner.
g) 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.

Recommendations

a) Convene a high-level independent probe to verify the findings of this report and the allegations of the residents of Nadukuppam.
b) Immediately offer an ex-gratia compensation to all households in Nadukuppam with an extra amount to the fisherwomen who have lost their assets in the arson attack on the fishmarket.
c) Enquire into the complicity of higher officials in the police department, and take appropriate action.
cff 5d) Do a detailed valuation of the lost property, damaged assets in terms of livelihood assets, household goods, houses, furniture and vehicles, and arrange for compensation by the Chennai City Police.
e) Conduct a thorough investigation and pin penal liability on police personnel that participated in the attacks of 23 January, and their seniors who ordered the attack.
f) The State and National Commission on Women should take particular note of this attack, and commission an enquiry for necessary corrective action.
g) Police should publish their standard operating procedure for crowd control and evicting protestors, and compliance to the SOP should be verified for this specific instance.
h) Selection of police personnel and police officers should include thorough pyschological screening to ensure that the personnel possess the sensitivity to handle situations like these that require a high degree of restraint and respect for human dignity.
i) A permanent judicial ombudsman be constituted to adjudicate on police measures that affect civil rights in order to increase transparency and accountability of senior police officers.

Members of the Fact Finding Team

cff 41. Dr. V. Vasanthi Devi, former Vice Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, chairperson, State Women's Commission.
2. Dr. Anandhi Shanmugasundaram, Assoc. Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies.
3. Poongkhulali Balasubramanian, Advocate, Madras High Court
4. Chandrika Ramanujam, Thozilalar Koodam and TN Labour Blog
Photographs: Amirtharaj Stephen, Praveen and Steve Rodriquez

~

Source and Credit: The Coastal Resource Centre (HTTP://OW.LY/FLBI308L87V)

Full Report: HTTP://OW.LY/ZEMY308L8EV

~~~

Other Related Articles

Necessity of representation: a Tribal woman vice chancellor in India
Sunday, 31 May 2020
Swapnil Dhanraj When was the last time India celebrated a success story of a woman coming from a Tribal community in Indian academia? If we think about the manner in which Indian education system has... Read More...
Caste and access to public spaces: A field study in Suburban Mumbai
Sunday, 24 May 2020
  Vanshree Vankar In India, the historical context of oppression through occupation has given birth to social stratification via caste culture which includes notions of purity and impurity. This... Read More...
Odisha: Role model for the Upper Castes in fighting Corona
Thursday, 14 May 2020
  Roshan Padhan When they say everyone is equal before law, it is the biggest lie in India. If we look at some news reports in one Odia newspaper, Sambad, this is very evident. While the Odisha... Read More...
The Burden of an Economy
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
  Tejaswini Tabhane I once wittily remarked that I am an economist till the time you do not ask me what will be the GDP projection for the next quarter. This remark does not merely come from my... Read More...
The dignity of the underclass is the first casualty: Chandra Bhan Prasad
Wednesday, 29 April 2020
  Chandra Bhan Prasad and Pushpendra Johar in a discussion: this is a part of the series of interviews, talks, articles that SAVARI and Round Table India are trying to put together to gather the... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Why Dr. Devi Shetty’s 25 (or 2500) ‘ways to manage Covid-19’ should be rejected outright
Tuesday, 07 April 2020
  Dr. Sylvia Karpagam For far too long, Dr. Devi Shetty has been giving advice on a range of things, the most recent being the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a crucial public health period for... Read More...
Untouchability wall in Mettupalayam: Segregating SC/MBCs from Caste Hindus
Sunday, 08 December 2019
  Dr. Ravichandran Bathran At the outset, untouchability or caste is never an issue until it takes lives. Similarly, the wall is in discussion, also, only due to the lives it took. The collapse... Read More...
CFC (Common Family Code) as the Antidote to CAA, NRC, NPR
Sunday, 26 January 2020
  Dr. Ayaz Ahmad The specter of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register) threaten to put our political democracy in peril. It... Read More...
COVID19, a big disaster in the making
Saturday, 28 March 2020
  Khalid Anis Ansari (Round Table India is doing a series to put together the Bahujan perspective on the Coronavirus pandemic) Anu Ramdas: What are your deepest concerns about the ability... Read More...
Odisha: Role model for the Upper Castes in fighting Corona
Thursday, 14 May 2020
  Roshan Padhan When they say everyone is equal before law, it is the biggest lie in India. If we look at some news reports in one Odia newspaper, Sambad, this is very evident. While the Odisha... Read More...